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World famous matches from Sušice

 
photo:  (archiv)
 

Matches packed in boxes with the logo of a key, pipe, roses or scissors were manufactured in the small west-Bohemian town of Sušice at the foothills of the Šumava Mountains for 169 years. The entire world knew them as Solo Sušice matches.

 
 
Matches were formerly known as “sulphur matches” in Czech because the primer mixture in which the heads of the matches were soaked, contained sulphur as well as phosphorus. Viennese pharmacist István Römer made such matches in his laboratory. Marie Urbancová, who also worked in his laboratory, met the Sušice native Vojtěch Scheinost, who was training to be a joiner in Vienna from 1826. Vojtěch married Marie and they returned to Bohemia together, where they themselves started to make matches in the autumn of 1839. As a result of lack of financial means, Scheinost later merged with the rich trader Bernard Fürth, who initially helped him with a loan and later became his business partner. In the end, Scheinost left the factory in 1865 and founded a match-making plant in Sušice, which was in operation until 1932.

Nevertheless, the existing enterprise flourished and the demand for matches grew quickly. At the beginning of the 20th century, the original Sušice factory joined the large SOLO business concern, which incorporated the six biggest Austrio-Hungarian match-factories, the main seat of which was located in Vienna. The use of sulphur was stopped and the original poisonous white phosphorus was replaced by red phosphorus.

The SOLO Sušice Company was the sole producer of matches in the CR until 2008. The decreasing world consumption of matches and fierce Asian competition, especially from Pakistan, China and India, meant an end of production for the well-known matches from the Šumava foothills. Their production was moved to India and the SOLO Company became a trade company in 2009.

An insight into the history of match production is now available to visitors of Sušice (Map) in the local museum.


 
Author: Romana Kuncová
 
Added: 05.10.2012
 
 
 

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