A MATCHLESS SERVICE
Here’s a question for you – have you ever heard of John Walker? I’m sure some of you have – it’s a fairly common name. But the John Walker I’m talking about lived back in 1826, and his invention set the world on fire! (Literally)
Walker was an English chemist who invented the first friction match. (He actually did it on this day, 11-27-1826.) A friction match is one that may be struck by dragging the head across a rough surface. A matchbook with a restaurant name on it and the warning “close before lighting,” and a box of wooden matches with the typical red tip on them and a rough strip along the edge of the box are examples of the friction match.
Before Walker’s invention, matches had been cumbersome things, requiring a combination of chemical reactions to activate, were expensive and hard to manufacture, and were really not at all easy to use.
A box of Walker’s matches sold for a shilling, approximately $4.50 in today’s money. Here’s what the box looked like:
A piece of sandpaper came with the box. It was folded double and the match had to be drawn through it to catch fire. Between 1827 and 1829, Walker made about 168 sales of his matches. Other inventors improved and refined the product, finally resulting in today’s safety matches.
That’s the way it goes with safety techniques. It’s constantly evolving. Take a look at what firefighters wore in 1917 and what they wear today.
811 is the same way. At Texas811 we’re constantly refining, improving and evolving. Our goal is to provide the public and our members with the best 811 service in the world. The testimony to that is in the number of locate requests we take annually – about three million – and the way our membership continues to grow – over 1700. As a non-profit, we report to our members and work as hard as we can to give them what they want and need in their business situation. We look for new ways to get the 811 safety message out to the public and constantly criss-cross the state to get that word out.
With all due respect to the late John Walker – we DO provide a matchless service!
Come and see how we can provide one for you!
Until next week, safe digging!
By Scott Finley