A collection of matchbooks in the Community Case and Native American artifacts will be featured for September First Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. Sept. 6.
Matchbooks have been around since 1892 when Joshua Pusey patented the idea of paper matches. The tips were dipped in a solution of sulphur and phosphorus and stapled to a piece of cardboard. The Diamond Match Co. promptly purchased Pusey’s patent. In 1894, a company salesman named Henry Traute got his first order for 10 million matchbooks featuring ads for Pabst beer on their covers. An order for 30 million matchbooks from tobacco maker Bull Durham quickly followed. It was discovered that if matchbooks were given away for free, they could be used to sell other products. Soon matchbooks were offered to customers of tobacco products, or left in the ashtrays of coffee shops and motels for the convenience of diners and overnight guests.
In the Milano Gallery, the story of the local Kawaiisu Indians is told. A highlight of the gallery is the exhibit featuring examples of old basketry and the method of weaving. Most of the baskets currently on display were woven by members of the Williams family from 1880 to 1930. Three additional baskets in the exhibit have been acquired by the museum. The beautiful designs are unique to the local weavers. Someone will be in the gallery to discuss the items on display.
In the next few months a new Kawaiisu exhibit will be installed showcasing the baskets and other items in the Andy Greene Collection. Major funding for the Milano Gallery, housing the Kawaiisu Exhibit, was provided by Mark and Jessie Milano during its construction 10 years ago.
Revisit the current Kawaiisu exhibit and see a selection of the matchbook collection at the museum on First Friday. Appetizers and wine will be served. The museum is located at 310 S. Green St. and is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, call 822-8152.
Charles White is a Tehachapi resident who volunteers with many local organizations to preserve and improve the quality of life in Tehachapi.