The first match factory in the West was established in Milwaukee in 1844 by Robert W. Pierce who came from Massachusetts bringing the necessary materials with him for the purpose. The business was opened in the upper story of a dwelling house on the corner of 5th and Chestnut Streets. During the first year only three hands were employed and $900 worth of matches were manufactured, resulting in a loss of $300. The next year, 1845, Mr Pierce built a small 16’x24′ factoryon Walnut St between 6th and 7th Streets. Here the business was carried on till 1850 when he erected a brick structure directly opposite the old one and transferred his business to it. The enterprise had gradually grown in importance till the factory produced $40,000 worth of matches annually. The matches were sold throughout the West and South as far east as Cleveland and South to New Orleans. They were known as the Superior Percussion Matches and in 1860 Mr. Pierce sold to Messrs Ball Hill & Greenleaf. After changing hands several times the business was finally abandoned and the building converted into a starch factory. RW Pierce is listed as a match manufacturer on Walnut St. in the Milwaukee directories for 1847 to 1849 and from 1854 to 1858 the firm appears as RW Pierce & Co. Match Factory, Walnut St. between 6th and 7th. In ln 1862-63 the match factory was operated by D. Daggett & Co., the members of the firm being Daniel Daggett, PB Hill. 1864 does not mention the business but from 1865 to 1867 it was run by Greenleaf & Co. at the Northeast corner of 7th and Walnut Streets. The partners were Frank H. Greenleaf, PB Hill and Samuell Ball. Greenleaf was born in Charlemont Mass and came to Milwaukee in 1844 when he was 15 years old.
The Greenleaf Co. was subject to many changes of ownership though not all of them are indicated by changes in the die itself. Commencing with the order ot Jan 26 1867 the Greenleaf stamps were ordered by the First National Match Co., Hunn & Co. of Milwaukee. On Aug 13, 1867 they were ordered by Barber & Co also of Milwaukee who continued to receive them up to Dec 31st of that vear. Commencing with May 1868, they were received by Barber & Peckham and after August of that year by Barber & Co. again until the latter were succeeded by Barber Jones & Co. in December 1872. In 1872 the Milwaukee directories contain no reference to the First National Match Co., Hunn & Co, nor Barber & Peckham. Most likely these concerns were not in business long enough to become listed. The 1c Greenleaf die is one of the most beautiful engraved by Butler & Carpenter. The stamp was printed only in Philadelphia.
Both the old paper and the silk paper occur in green and in yellowish green shades and all of them are scarce stamps. Very few really fine specimens are known to exist and even ordinary copies are difficult to find. The centering is seldom any better than just fair. This writer has been able to trace only about thirty copies of each paper.
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