As I haven’t done a Dollar Review for a while, I thought I would do one on the Permanent Match.

This is a permanent match.

This one of those things you can find all over eBay that looks like it wouldn’t work but really does. Mine’s a cylinder but they also come in a rectangular shape. Either way, the idea is the same. That little knob on top unscrews and a shaft comes out, that’s the “match” part of the thing.

Sorry it's so blurry.

The metal “match” is hollow, there’s cotton wadding stuffed in the end with a little steel tooth crammed in to hold it in place. You can’t really see the wadding in the photo, it gets all black and charred after awhile. You fill the little chamber with naptha, the “match” has a gasket at the top so it won’t leak. The little bar on the side is a flint; you make the fire the old-fashioned way, by drawing the little steel bit  down the flint very fast. There’s a lot of sparks and if you’ve done it right, some will land on the naptha-soaked cotton and set it on fire. It’s takes a bit of practice to get it right, but it does work.

Now, the downside – I’ve seen claims that the thing will light “10000” times and that might be true under perfect conditions, but I wouldn’t bet on it. The flint on the side wears down a little bit each time you swipe it and not every swipe will work perfectly. The flint is just barely the same size as the steel tooth, if you don’t get them lined up perfectly you end up gouging bits of plastic out of the sides of the notch it rests in. If you leave the match tip burning for any length of time, the cotton wadding gets burned up and I’ve yet to find a way to get the little steel bit out so I can change it. I would really prefer a design where I could add more wadding, once it gets burned up the thing is nearly useless.

But when it works, it works very well.



Final verdict – For my ninety-nine cents and free shipping, I thought the permanent match was worth it. I wouldn’t want to depend on it to light a campfire in the darkest jungles of Borneo, but it is a nice novelty to have around.