Striking design: matchboxes from the eastern bloc – in pictures

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Inspired by a book in her local library about matchbox labels from around the world, for the past 10 years Glasgow-based designer Jane McDevitt has been collecting vintage matchboxes. “It was the eastern bloc ones that stood out,” she says, “because they were so contemporary to their time: very mid-century modern and colourful.” She began buying them on eBay and at flea markets, and as her collection grew people started to get in touch with items they had inherited from relatives or found in their attics. She now has more than 400 matchboxes from countries such as Czechoslovakia, Poland and Russia from the 1950s to the 80s, collected in her book Matchbloc (Present & Correct, £20). The boxes would often feature civic-minded messages: “There was a lot of helping people do the right thing – they’d have banking advice or how to look after your kids. And then there are ones that don’t have a caption, just, like, a cat with a pipe – I have no idea what it means, and that’s enjoyable.”

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