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Alexander Underwood operated a match factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin starting in 1857. His son, H. M. Underwood was an employee of the Park City Match Company, also of Kenosha in the 1860s. Perry’s history of the companies is unclear; however, it appears that around 1867, Alexander Underwood sold his match company to the Park City Match Company. Around this time, the Park City Match Company was succeeded by the Kenosha Match Company, which continued to order stamps of the unmodified Park City private die design.
 
                              Alex Underwood & Co. Approval Model         Alex Underwood & Co. Stamp       
Approved by Commissioner of Internal Revenue - Unique                                 
 
Also in 1867, Alexander Underwood moved back east and established a new match company in Newark, New Jersey. Alexander Underwood had a private die prepared.  The model, featuring the vignette from a Bousfield & Poole stamp, with pen and ink lettering, was approved by Edward A. Rollins, Commissioner of Internal Revenue on October 23, 1867.  Underwood first ordered stamps from his die later that year. His firm was listed in Newark business directories from 1867 through 1869.

At some point, the Park City Match Company dies were sold to Jas. L. Clark.  At some point around 1870, the Kenosha Match Company was acquired by the Electric Match Company of Chicago, which continued to order stamps from the Park City Match Company die. H.M. Underwood continued to work for the Electric Match Company.
 

Electric Match Co. Essay


Around 1869 or 1870, the Alexander Underwood match factory in Newark stopped production. The Electric Match Company then purchased the Alexander Underwood die, and had stamps printed from the unmodified plate. In 1873, Electric Match Company had the Alexander Underwood die modified to read “Electric Match Co.” The modified die was submitted to the Internal Revenue Service, and was approved on May 1, 1873. Despite the fact that the die was approved, no stamps were issued, and no stamps were produced from the Alexander Underwood or Park City Match Company dies after June 1873. Around this time, H. M. Underwood resigned from the Electric Match Company and sold his stock in the company due to disagreements over the operation of the company. The company then had some “difficulties” with the government and the owners fled to Canada, leaving a business debt of $32,000.

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