During the 19th and early 20th century, match strikes or pyrogènes were a common feature in French bistros.
French match strikes or pyrogènes
During the 19th and early 20th century match strikes, or pyrogènes in French, were a common sight on the tables and bars of bistros all over France.
The purpose of the match strike in the preparation of absinthe
Back then, it was common to see a match strike sitting on a bistro table or bar for customers to use in the preparation of absinthe during the Belle Époque era.
A popular way of preparing this complex drink would be to place a sugar cube on a slotted spoon and lower it into a measure of absinthe. Once dipped into the alcohol mixture the sugar would be lifted out, still on the slotted spoon, and set alight using a match from the match strike or pyrogène. The flame would then melt the sugar and slowly into the liquid below. Once stirred cold water would then be slowly added from a water carafe.
The three features of a French match strike
The match strike itself had three objectives; the upper cylindrical container stored the matches, the ridged side was used to strike the match and it served as a promotional tool for alcohol manufacturers.
Porcelain match strikes made in France today
Unique reproduction French match strikes are still produced in France, made from porcelain and with hand-painted lines and accents. Today however, they are usually used in the home as a home décor item or as a fireside accessory.
We have a beautiful selection of wonderful reproduction match strikes made in France available in our online shop, perfect for those of us who just love French history, home décor and interiors.