Malahide Historical Society Museum

The last aim of the Society was achieved in 1988 when the Cottage Museum was opened in the grounds of Malahide Castle, just inside the main gates on the Back Road. In 2007 the museum moved to new premises in the Craft Courtyard adjacent to the rear entrance to the Castle. However, when the Castle and courtyard underwent major conservation and development works In 2012 the museum closed and the collection was put in storage. Fingal County Council  subsequently granted us several rooms in the building known as the Steward's House, the two storey three bay house in the coach park adjacent to the visitor reception area for the castle. We have an eclectic collection on display together with several audio visual programmes. Entry is free and the museum is manned by Society volunteers.

Museum Opening Hours

The museum is closed for the duration of the present Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Dictaphone Dictation Equipment

                                   

This beautifully restored original equipment is an example of one the first, if not the first, dictating machines made by the Dictaphone Company and dates from 1912. Dictaphone dictation equipment This beautifully restored original equipment is an example of one the first, if not the first, dictating machines made by the Dictaphone Company and dates from 1912. A wax coated sleeve was fitted over the dull rotating cylinder at the middle of the left hand machine and the text was dictated into the mouthpiece of the metal voice tube. A needle etched the voice vibrations on to the wax sleeve much as on a modern vinyl music record. The typist then transferred the waxed sleeve to the top roller and listened to the playback via a plain rubber voice tube attached to a headband with a simple earpiece. The tube could then be slipped on to the shiny roller on the right hand machine on which a very thin layer of wax, with the recording, was shaved off leaving the sleeve ready for re-use. Each wax coated sleeve could be re-shaved up to 100 times until all the wax was removed. ​ We are indebted to local resident Pete Bedell who did the restoration work and then presented the equipment to our museum where it is on display.

A large selection of cigarette cards is currently on display.

Topics covered include Wild Flowers, Garden Flowers, Plants of Commercial Value, Irish Scenery Views, Dogs, Famous Irish Greyhounds.

Other attractions include detailed models of a WWI airship or blimp of the type based at the Castle, Malahide Castle, St. Sylvester's Church and a Viking longship.

Currently there is a special exhibition of Match Boxes from around the world.

MATCHES and MATCH BOXES

There are four main types of match boxes:
 

  • Book matches usually produced for promotional purposes and containing two layers of card matchsticks
     
  • Standard sized wood or card boxes containing 40 – 50 wooden matchsticks. Some with stuck-on promotional labels
     
  • Oversize variously shaped boxes containing numerous extra long wood matchsticks
     
  • Undersize variously shaped boxes, usually produced for promotional purposes, and containing a small number of wood matchsticks.

The matches themselves come in three main types:

  • Tear out impregnated card matchsticks produced in book match form
     
  • ‘Friendly’ or ‘strike anywhere’ wood matchsticks tipped with a chemical mix that will light when rubbed vigorously against a slightly abrasive surface
     
  • ‘Safety’ wood matchsticks tipped with a chemical mix that will light when rubbed against a special chemically coated surface
     

HISTORY OF MATCHES

Numerous more or less successful chemical mixtures were invented for matches from about 1830. They were often hazardous, unreliable and unpredictable in performance. Workers in match factories suffered severe health problems arising from exposure to the chemicals used in manufacture.

It was not until the first decade of the 20th century that the match, as we know it today, became ubiquitous.

Sales of matches have plummeted with the decline in pipe, cigar and cigarette smoking.

Maguire and Paterson of Smithfield in Dublin had a virtual monopoly of the Irish match market for most of the 20th century. The design on their ‘safety’ and ‘friendly’ matchboxes changed little over most of that century.

Most other countries also had a dominant manufacturer. They tended to promote their products with a brand icon such as a star (estrella) or a sailing vessel or in sets depicting a particular theme such as steam engines, local costumes, nature, etc.