In 1892 the Mendelssohn Opera Company in NYC was the first company to use matchboxes for advertising purposes. Supposedly the manager had the cast decorate them by hand with details of the show and images of the stars. The opening night was a success and matchbox advertising became a new industry, perfect for all sorts of products and messages, since everybody used matches. However, by the seventies, the introduction of disposable lighters put an end to this practice. Many collectibles come from Japan and Eastern-Europe.