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Strike Anywhere $100 Bills

or large denomination note of the country of your choice
  (+21, -2)(+21, -2)
(+21, -2)
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The image of the rich guy lighting his cigar with a hundred dollar bill is cherished and time honored, but it doesn’t actually make sense. What is he using to light the bill with, and why doesn’t he just use that to light his cigar in the first place? He’s not using whatever it is in order to make a point: that he can afford to spend $100 on a light. But this unnecessary step really needs elimination in the service of a more graceful and simple procedure.

Nowadays, paper currency can have all sort of stuff in and on it: watermarks, plastics, holograms, etc. It shouldn’t be too much of a technological leap to add or embed a chemical ignition and fuel system (such as is found in “strike anywhere” match tips) to a corner of the note. This breakthrough will allow the millionaire to light the money using any abrasive surface and relieve him from the wasted motion and redundancy of lighting something in order to light something else. Actually, there might be a folding step necessary to give the bill the necessary tensile strength to be dragged across the abrasive surface and maintain rigidity. But whatever.

Of course, this kind of thing is dangerous and expensive to manufacture and store. They’d have to be individually wrapped or something and would cost substantially more than $100 to produce. They wouldn’t stack efficiently either. But as usual, the way to solve a problem is to throw money at it, and with a demographic target like this, the problems just solve themselves.

By the way, do you think all the chemical inks and dyes make the cigars taste funny?

snarfyguy, Mar 08 2007

Seems apropos http://en.wikipedia...Burn_a_Million_Quid
[calum, Dec 15 2011]


       One presumes the company would take pre-existing $100 bills and treat them to avoid counterfeiting laws. Unfortunately for this business idea, destroying paper currency is illegal. It's normally a crime that would be ignored (due to difficulty in catching the perpetrators), but a company that went into business around burning money would potentially get legal notice from the government. While the rich people would happily pay the fines (burning a strike anywhere bill would be an even bigger demonstration of wealth than burning a normal one), the jail terms might be an issue. One way to work around it would be for the company to just sell matches and charge $10,000 for the matchbook. Call them luxury matches and claim they're better than regular matches. Unfortunately, using expensive matches lacks the shock value of burning real money, and many people would not recognize the matchbooks (which might be a good thing: burning something expensive in front of someone who has no clue it is expensive will allow the rich people to feel like they're better than the other person).
aguydude, Mar 08 2007

       I sort of had it in mind that the Treasury Department itself would issue these bills. A little bit of backslapping should be able to get the Department a legislative exemption.
snarfyguy, Mar 09 2007

       For what it's worth, the need for lighting cigars with a piece of paper is long gone. Back when lighters hadn't been invented, but open flames were commonly found in fireplaces and candles, the situation was different. A strip of paper, referred to as a "spill", was easier to manage than sticking one's face in the fireplace, or lifting a branch of candles.   

       Trivial, I know, but it answers the rhetorical question there. A banknote was the handiest "spill" for a lot of people, but few could afford to use one. It may have got started with a rich man at a gambling table, or so I like to imagine. "Lord Warbucks dropped a sheaf of banknotes onto the green cloth, flicked back the lace from his white hands, languidly lifted a note from the bundle, and thrust it into the candle's flame . . .   

       Back on topic: Make a lighting widget with a "safety" slot that only accommodates paper, and attach it to a cigar cutter.
baconbrain, Mar 09 2007

       [[hug]] snarfy! [[hugs]]   

       still using strikeanywherebills email?
po, Mar 09 2007

       Instead of adding the phosphor mixture yourself, sell kits that let people dip their own money. Use expensive refill cartriges. Attach a cigar cutter.
Voice, Mar 09 2007

       I've only ever seen Chow Yun Fat do this in the two A Better Tomorrow movies. Does it really occur outside the dove-filled slow-motion World of John Woo?
theleopard, Mar 09 2007

       Hiya po - nice to see you! Same ole e-mail addy as in my profile, yep. I've been away for a few years working on my Side-Saddle motorcycle idea, but I finally had to give it up because I don't know anything about physics or mechanical engineering.   

       I like the kit idea above, and thanks for the history lesson on spills.   

       I'd forgotten John Woo used this image. I didn't realize it had any currency left (sorry!).
snarfyguy, Mar 09 2007

       What's to keep it from lighting off in my wallet, my pocket, or the strippers g-string?
Noexit, Mar 09 2007

       Dunno, but I am kept relatively safe by the extreme rarity of hundred-dollar bills in my posession.
lurch, Mar 09 2007

       I just nicked it out of your backpocket.
po, Mar 09 2007

       Making these bills spontaneously ignitable would be good for the economy. People couldn't spend them fast enough.
ldischler, Mar 09 2007

       The other day at the store where my son works - first idio^H^H^H^Hcustomer of the morning walks in. He wants to break a $100 bill on a $2 item. There's barely any change in the till. My son says he was *so* tempted to say, "I can't take that; it's a fire hazard."
lurch, Mar 14 2007

       Very nice. Essential equipment for the tyrannical plutocrat in your life.
calum, Mar 14 2007

       US currency is made to resist pretty much anything. This would partially defeat the purpose of doing so. He could just get a really expensive lighter - that would be much simpler. [-]
apocalyps956, Apr 26 2007

       What if you do it as a service, with people hired to strike your strike anywhere hundred dollar bills for you, on an amazing commision. For a cool ten million dollars, they light your cigar, and are summarily arrested, fined a thousand dollars, and sent to prison for ten years (Out in one on good behavior, with a modest retirement fund.)
ye_river_xiv, Dec 15 2011

       A Halfbakery classic.
doctorremulac3, Dec 15 2011

       It's a misconception that it's illegal to destroy all currency. It is illegal to destroy currency with intent to defraud (such as extracting metals from coins) but a law forbidding the destruction of notes just doesn't make sense.   

       Suppose a billionaire douses his billion in gasoline and lights it up. He has now effectively enriched the entire dollar-using economy by a billion dollars entirely at his own expense.
Voice, Dec 15 2011

       He's enriched the holders of cash, and impovershed the holders of goods. He's enriched the creditors, and impovershed the debtors. If the inflation rate was too high, then he's enriched the economy; if economic growth was low, he's moved it towards recession. Money's destroyed (and created) on a regular basis by central banks, though they have subtler ways of doing it than gasoline and bank notes.
mouseposture, Dec 16 2011

       Reminds me of a scene in one of Heinlein's novels where the banker torches a large denomination bill to the horror of his guest, but the bank was the one who issued the bill in the first place so the actual cost was simply that of printing another one if necessary.
FlyingToaster, Dec 16 2011


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