RO181b Washington Match Co. Revenue Stamp


The stamp of the Washington Match Co. features John Trumbull’s portrait of George Washington in military dress and is among the most attractive private match dies. Fur­thermore, as far as I am aware, it is the only match stamp owing its origin to a real estate promotion scheme.

The Washington Match Co. was incorporated in January 1873 with a starting capital of $20,000. The offi­cers were Simeon H. Mitchell, presi­dent, Seth S. Logan, secretary and Walter S. Logan, treasurer. The main office was at 54 Wall Street, New York City, while the factory was lo­cated a mile from Washington Depot on the Shepaug Valley Railroad in Litchfield County, Connecticut.
Seth S. Logan was a Connecticut state senator, while his son, Walter S. Logan (1,847-?) was a lawyer by profession and a resident of New York. Both were natives of Washing­ton, Connecticut, where the Logan family had been long-time residents. They owned not only the site of the match factory, but also extensive property in the surrounding area. By setting up an industry, the Logans hoped to attract new settlers and business to this out-of-the-way spot and build up a community with result­ant profit to themselves in the sale or rental of land. Mitchell’s role was probably that of financial backer.

A variety of obstacles soon present­ed themselves. Neither local labor nor a local market existed and freight rates were high. The original factory superintendent proved incompetent and George O. Seward of Trenton, New Jersey, was called in as a re­placement in March 1875. Seward had been associated with several match firms in Trenton and elsewhere, but even his long experience in the match business could not offset the geo­graphical disadvantages. In February 1876 the plant was shut down and two months later the Washington Match Co. was dissolved by mutual consent of the owners. The building was subsequently converted to a carriage repair and blacksmith shop. Just how long the Washington Match Co. actually operated is open to question, but production probably got under way no earlier than the fall of 1874. The private die was not approved until May 1875 and only 176,000 stamps were ever delivered,
all in June and July 1875.

Up-to-date German machinery was installed and about thirty people were employed, all brought in from New Haven and Trenton. Production ca­pacity was claimed to be 250 gross boxes per day, but probably the plant never operated at anything near this rate. According to contemporary ac­counts, the matches were intended for the New York market and were spec­ially treated to resist the damp coast­al air. Both sulphur and “parlor” or safety matches were made, packed in boxes of 80, 100, 300, 400 and 500. However, in view of the delays and problems which plagued the company, it seems likely that very few matches ever reached the market. Following his short-lived venture in­ to the match business, Walter S. Lo­gan went on to become one of New York City’s prominent attorneys and businessmen.

Bruce A. Miller, The American Revenuer, October 1966, p. 86

Additional information

Catalog Number



VF+ used, light hinge stain




Silk Paper

Number Issued



First issued Oct. 1869. Last issued April 1872



Catalog Value


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