RO88a William Gates


The Gates match factory pre-dated the Civil War, and their private die stamps were issued from September of 1864 until August of 1865. 82,011,990 were issued on old paper and 68,925,725 were issued on silk paper. Two dies are known. There are a number of differences, the most commonly mentioned ones being shading on the shirt collar and around the top part of the circle around the portrait on die 2.

The Gates Match Factory was founded in 1844 by William Gates. William invented and patented match-making machines. The patent was obtained April 4, 1854 for a machine that would manufacture friction matches. It was the first continuous match machine ever built. William Gates was born in 1809 in Mechanivlle, Saratoga County, NY. He mar­ried Mary A. Due in 1832. In 1843 they moved to Frankfort. It was in 1844 that he began the manufacture of phosphorus matches. The business started in a twelve square foot room on the south banks of the Erie Canal. It had grown by 1870. Gates bought the land that is now Lehman Park located on South Litchfield Street. The water power from Moyer Creek was used for a 40 horse power engine that was used for the match industry. William died in 1877. Gates three sons, William B. (1840-1900), George W. (1843- 1918) and Frederick Gates (1848-1942) ran the business. Note George W. Died in Oshkosh, WI. He went there in 1881 to take charge of the J.L. Clark, which was a match factory that had been acquired by Diamond Match Company.

Additional information

Scott Number



Used, F, very small pinhole at bottom




old Paper

Number Issued

82,011,990 (all versions)


Sept. 1864 through August 1875



Scott Catalog Value


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