There was a thread on the Mid Century Modern board on Facebook, about the weirdest thing people has found in their vintage pieces, and everything from drugs (!) to guns (!!) came up as examples. At Mid Century Møbler, we’re not quite as exciting, or rather, the Swedes and Danes that pre-owned our furniture seems to be a less rowdy bunch. We do, however, find stuff in our pieces, and this is where me growing up in Sweden sometimes gives me a leg up, as I can provide some information on what it is.
One of the more common objects we find are boxes of matches, and among them, Solstickan is the most common one. Safety matches are actually a Swedish invention, patented in 1844, and since used all over the world. Solstickan isn’t actually a match company, but a foundation benefitting children and the elderly, founded in 1936. The same year, artist Einar Nerman got the assignment to paint the cover image, and he reused one of his old sketches of Thumbelina, from a prior project, in which he had used his son as his model. Legend has it, that he was paid 200 Swedish Kronor (roughly 20 dollars) for what were to become one of the most reproduced works of art of all time. The image remains popular, and can now be found on posters, bags and t-shirts. And the foundation that is Solstickan still donates millions to causes benefitting children and senior citizens.