George Burgess was born in Boston in 1805. Burgess was engaged in the manufacture of whips and canes in Philadelphia. He was apparently the maker of fishing rods with no equal. He was known across the nation and Californians ordered many of his rods. He was also noted to have improved the match for setting off rockets used by the United States Signal Service. Burgess began the business of match manufacturing in New York City in 1831. His matches were made of chlorate of potash and had to be drawn between two pieces of sand paper to be ignited. The quantity of chlorate of potash in the country being small, Burgess imported a large amount, but it proved to be of inferior quality. Burgess died in 1882 at the age of 78.