Matches: An Appeal (1899)

UK, 1899
black and white

A British animated fantasy film directed by Arthur Melbourne Cooper. It is the earliest known example of stop-motion animation and was conceived as a propaganda/advertising piece for the matches manufacturer Bryant & May. It is believed that the war referenced in the film is the Boer War (which would fit with the 1899 date) although the British Film Institute suggest that the film may have been made much later and is in fact referencing the First World War.

Plot Summary

A matchstick figure climbs a ladder and paints the words ‘For one guinea Messrs Bryant & May will forward a case containing sufficient to supply a box of matches to each man in a battalion with the name of the sender inside’ on a wall.


Director: Arthur Melbourne Cooper
Birt Acres

Alternative Titles

Matches Appeal


British Animated Films, 1895-1985: A Filmography by Denis Gifford p.4 – credits, synopsis