The bookmatch was patented in the 1890’s by John Pusey, a Pennsylvania patent lawyer, who sold the patent outright to the Diamond Match Co. in 1896. It soon became hugely popular as an advertising give away. The Diamond Match Company’s first big order, 10 million booklets for the Pabst Brewing Company, is said to have started the bookmatch industry. Their popularity grew with the spread of smoking in public. Matchbooks were placed on tables for diners in restaurants, hotels and dining cars on the railway. Besides their use advertising dining venues and commercial products, promotional bookmarks were often used in political campaigns.
Matchbooks reflect the artistic and advertising styles of the day and these are just a few from the Boston Public Library documenting a 30-year period from the 1940s to the 1970s.