We Built the World

Strike Now! | Collector's Edition

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A1 print celebrating the first successful friction match, invented in 1826 by John Walker, an English chemist and druggist from Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham. Designed by We Built the World and individually screen printed in a Collector’s limited edition run of 50.


In the first half of the 1800s, John Walker developed a keen interest in trying to find a means of obtaining fire easily. Several chemical mixtures were already known which would ignite by a sudden explosion, but it had not been found possible to transmit the flame to a slow-burning substance like wood.*

Walker sold his first "Friction Light" on the 12th of April 1827 from his pharmacy in Stockton-on-Tees. They were made of cardboard at first but he soon began to use wooden splints cut by hand. Later he packaged the matches in a cardboard box equipped with a piece of sandpaper for striking. He was advised to patent his matches but chose not to and, as a result, Samuel Jones of London copied his idea and launched his own "Lucifers" in 1829, an exact copy of Walkers "Friction Lights".

*(1 Crass, M. F., Jr. (1941). “A history of the match industry. Part 1”. Journal of Chemical Education.)

Production Specification

  • Collector's limited edition run of 50
  • Individually screen printed in Burgundy ink on GF Smith Textured Accent Antique (150gsm), in collaboration with The Northern School of Art
  • Print size is A1 (594mm x 841mm)
  • 100% recyclable and sustainable packaging
  • Includes certificate of authenticity
  • Individually signed and numbered

Please note that the numbered edition you receive is random and cannot be pre-selected. Available while stocks last.

Investing in the Future

Celebrating our heritage by investing in our future. Alongside our printing partnership with The Northern School of Artwe’re directly sharing profits to help the next generation of creatives realise their ambitions and reach their potential.

Postage and Delivery

Standard Shipping (UK and Intl.) is £3.99 for orders up to £100. Orders over £100 include free shipping.

Due to the custom paper stock and the hand-printed nature of the products, Shipping can take up to 10-14 days. You will receive confirmation of your order and updates on the delivery progress.

All products are shipped using 100% recyclable and sustainable packaging.