What is the Most Printed Phrase in the English Language?

16 Oct

What phrase has been printed more often than In God We Trust and Sanitized For Your Protection? “Close Cover Before Striking” has appeared on each of the many trillions of matchbooks that have been manufactured in North America since 1912.

Matchbook.10.16.13.pepsiIn the days before disposable lighters were invented and smoking was still sexy, paper matchbooks were as common in the average purse or pocket as lint. Matchbooks were not only handy as substitute toothpicks and for jotting down telephone numbers, they also were tiny portable billboards. As far back as 1902, the Pabst Brewing Company purchased 10 million printed matchbooks from the Diamond Match Corporation, and during World War II American G.I.s kept the home fires burning (literally) when they lit up their Lucky Strikes with the elaborate pin-up girl matchbooks … 

Despite the package warning, a lot of consumers didn’t “close cover before striking,” which of course was an accident just waiting to happen. In fact, it happened enough that the U.S. Government enacted a federal regulation in 1978 that required the striking strip to be placed on the back of matchbooks.

 

Sources:
Post courtesy of: Mental Floss
Matchbook Cover Pic: Pepsi-Andy Warhol “Close Cover Before Striking” 1962

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