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Updated 24 May 2021

D.phone 2R.jpg
D.phone 1R.jpg
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.

Malahide Historical Society

welcomes new members.

Joining is easy - just send an email to us at the address below and we will send you an application form:


The  annual subscription is just €15 but do not send any money at this stage.

​ Alternatively write to: 

 Brian Dooley,

 Hon. Secretary,


 31 Millview Lawns,

 Malahide, Co. Dublin K36 D660.

Tel 086 6087120

See our Facebook page


Museum Opening Hours

The museum is closed for the duration of the present Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions but we hope to reopen during summer 2021. Check back with us soon or follow us on Facebook.

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 be a special exhibition of Match Boxes from around the world.



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



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.

Monthly  talks

Out talks run from Oct to May and for the duration of the present Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines are run online on Zoom video conferencing

We welcome suggestions re possible speakers or topics, preferably with a local relevance. Ideas to: 


Want to learn lots more about Malahide ?

'Old Malahide' 

Available from: Manor Books,Church Road, Malahide

and at this society's museum at Malahide Castle.  

200 pages


If you have roots in Malahide -

'Malahide Snapshot 1901'

An analysis of the people, society and economy of central Malahide as revealed in the 1901 census.

The book also has a template for doing a similar detailed analysis of any other district.

Available from Manor Books,Church Road, Malahide

263 pages


'Portmarnock- it's People and Townlands-A History'

Local features, land ownership and salient historical events in the ten townlands comprising Portmarnock. 309 pages.

Available from Spar and Lidl in Portmarnock; also Hodges Figgis, Dublin.
 (Mail Order from enquiries@hodgesfiggis.ie)

Further  reading about Malahide and Portmarnock history

Site updated 22 June, 2020
​All content © Malahide Historical Society. All rights reserved.


Updated 27 January 2018

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