Phossy Jaw - "The Match Disease"

In 1669, Hennig Brand an alchemist while searching for the "Philosopher's Stone", a substance which transformed base metals into gold discovered Phosphorus, after boiling down his own urine and adding a few chemicals to come up with a magical substance, that glowed. He named this man-made substance, "Phosphorus".

Now it's 1869 and you've just landed the job of your dreams, in the local match-making factory that your father and his father worked, until their deaths. 

Weeks into the job you first complain of a painful toothache as your father and his father did when they landed their jobs. Your gums start swelling and become tender to the touch. Overtime, so does your jawbone. They didn't have sick days back then, you worked, sick or not. 

After time, you are unable to touch it and your jaw glows in the dark from the phosphorus, like one of those snap and break lights. When snapped, they light up, using a chemical reaction to create the light. You endure the pain for years until surgery is needed to remove your jaw bone. 

If not caught in time the bone dies and rots where it is, in your jaw. It becomes foul smelling, and your face becomes disfigured and then you suffer organ failure and/or brain damage, then death.

You have "Phossy Jaw", a disease caused by vapour from white phosphorus which is the main ingredient in the head of a match. Then in 1888, much too late to save you, London's "Match Girls" went on strike, to get manufacturer's to use safe red phosphorus, instead of the deadly white. They failed. 

But instead, it brought the moral issue to the forefront. It did lead other new start-up match companies to use red phosphorus, even though it was more expensive, making the original white phosphorus match companies go out of business. 

Today, in 2014, there is no danger in using matches other than causing a fire, then that's another blog.

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Dog Brindle


motorcyclemessiah said...

the DEAexposes us amphetamine addicts to this buy forcing us to produce our own drugs in backyard labs with no safty measures because we cant .afford any thing with the high prices forcesd on us by a police monopoly on the supply of drugs.

Michael Wilson said...

the DEA is forcing this disease on addicts with their monopoly pricing policies.they should be charged for war crimes.