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Company history

Matches - an everyday item, at first rare, gradually more and more common, recently rarely used.

Sušice, a town on the Otava River, was recognized by the public as the "cradle" of Czech match-making.

The production of matches in Sušice was started by the carpenter Vojtěch Scheinost, who had been apprenticed as a carpenter in Vienna since 1826 and after his apprenticeship took a job with the pharmacist Röhmer to produce the match "wire" (matchwood) he needed for the production of matches in his factory. There he met Maria Urbanc, a domestic helper at Röhmer's, and with her help he gained knowledge of the chemical preparation of the incendiary phosphorus mixture, for, as legend has it, Urbanc sometimes helped with this otherwise secret manipulation in the Röhmer family.

In the autumn of 1839, he and Urbancová said goodbye to Vienna for good and moved to Sušice, where shortly afterwards, in October of that year, Vojtěch Scheinost applied for permission to produce matches. As the family tradition tells us, Scheinost soon ran out of funds and, as it happens, was forced to turn to a stranger to help him with a loan. That person was a wealthy dry goods merchant in Susice, Bernard Fürth. In an agreement dated 5 December 1840, he confirmed Fürth's supply of raw materials for the production of matches. In this way Bernard Fürth began to supply Scheinost with raw materials on credit and in cash, and Scheinost repaid him with matches. The entrepreneurial and business-savvy Fürth sensed a profitable business from this connection and supported the aspiring manufacturer. This support obliged Scheinost to such an extent that he was eventually forced to offer Fürth the position of partner and later the entire factory property. Only Scheinost had the right to produce matches, so Fürth did not hesitate to apply for it in September 1842, demanding that he also be allowed to produce phosphorus, which had hitherto been imported from abroad.

The leased premises in Sušice were not sufficient to meet the operational potential of the booming sales, so Fürth decided to build a new factory. He received permission to do so in 1844.

Bernard Fürth died on 26 September 1849, leaving a business in full bloom, without the slightest sign of faltering, a business whose products were known throughout Europe.

The production of sorghum was undoubtedly a profitable source of livelihood for the population of Sušice and its surroundings and created the possibility of higher earnings. The development of the match industry in Susice after the death of Bernard Fürth continued to enjoy favourable conditions.

The heirs insisted on a contract, a time agreed with Vojtěch Scheinost, and continued to deny him free access to the factory by family members. When he failed with the Fürth in his determination to lift this contractual restriction, he saw no other way than to leave the factory. In 1865 he resigned from the services of the company Bernard Fürth and during 1867 he was already considering building his own plant for the production of matches. He applied for a production permit on July 10, 1868, and secured 20 workers for the start of operations. Thus was born to Sušice the second so-called Upper Matchmaker of Vojtěch Scheinost (VS brand)

In the nineties of the 19th century, the overproduction of match goods gradually manifested itself not only in the Austrian monarchy, but also in other countries producing matches, declining tendencies were recorded. The sales crisis in this industry was particularly acute in the Czech Republic, where there were 20 larger match shops at the time, in addition to a number of small plants whose production was of poor quality and also cheaper than the goods of large companies, largely dependent on exports.

Well-situated Sušice match shops, especially the lower BF factory, which unexpectedly stopped operations in the leased factory in Zlatá Koruna, tirelessly continued and expanded production and storage facilities by building new factory buildings and installing the latest machinery to efficiently rationalize and increase capacity to prepare for relentless competition. fight.

In the Bernard Fürth company, a generational change took place in 1890 with the entry of Bernard Fürth, the son of the current owner of the company, Daniel Fürth. The second son of Dr. Arnošt Fürth then joined in 1892. These people were not only good and experienced farmers, but also as experts and specialists in the match industry, and as it turned out, they also took important positions in international economic activity.

For Sušice matchmaking, the meeting of the hard-working craftsman, inventive and experienced Vojtěch Scheinost with the energetic and very capable businessman Bernard Fürth was certainly lucky, but the worldliness of Sušice matches and the unprecedented growth of technology and economy in the match industry must be attributed to the exceptional qualities of grandchildren Arnošt Fürth.

With the concentration of capital and the implemented rationalization changes in the production of matches, the sale of matches reached a stage of critical sales stagnation at the end of the 19th century. The rapid growth in the number of newly established match shops has caused confusion on world markets, the result of an untied, extremely tough fight, and these conditions have once again brought large export companies to the negotiating table. The ongoing dialogue between the partners was finally completed by merging the six largest Austrian match factories into a joint-stock company.

In the design of companies:


submitted to the Ministry of the Interior in Vienna on 17 October 1903 under file no. 10.509 states that it intends to establish a joint stock company called:

"SOLO" match and polish factory, a joint-stock company based in Vienna

for cost-saving reasons consisting in high overhead in regaining lost markets, which are supplied by cheaper goods under the power of foreign competitors. An influential motive for the merger was also the modernization of the technical equipment of the factories. The path of concentration of production began with the financial support of the "Landerbank".

Growing changes in machine technology in match production have significantly replaced handicrafts and led to drastic rationalization with a view to better application in the export of match goods. Sušice match shops, whose products had a world reputation, have become a domain in the community of the group with traditional exports.

The continuing concentration of SOLA Group funds has also prevailed in Hungary. In addition, this capital concentration, combined with a massive rationalization program, has phased out a number of medium and small match businesses over the years.

On the proposal of the founding banks, the Ministry of the Interior granted permission on 11 December 1912 to establish a second major joint-stock company with the company name "Hélios" for German goods (German: Zündwaren-Aktiengesellschaft "Hélios") based in Vienna, territory of the monarchy not associated with SOLO. For trade in the internal market, "Hélios" and "SOLO" agreed on the definitive adjustment of the domestic contingent with 56% participation for Hélios and 44% for SOLO. At that time, the need for matches in the monarchy was calculated, 6 matches per capita per day.

SOLO factories, especially in Sušice, mainly exported their goods before the war. During the war, SOLO had the opportunity to use these goods advantageously and with good price conditions in the internal market. Helios did not have this advantage.

With the establishment of an independent Czechoslovak state, the issue of purchasing SOLO factories in the Czechoslovak Republic came to the forefront of the Hélios Group's interest. It was an offer with a good production and commercial perspective and with the possibility of foreign participation in the match industry. The proposal to change the name of Hélios to SOLO was also of far-reaching significance.

The entire approval procedure of the merger was completed by a decree of the Ministry of the Interior of 11 January 1922, no. 2642/22/17, which, with the consent of the Ministry of Trade and Finance, authorized the increase of the share capital of Helios for the purpose of taking over the domestic assets of Vienna's SOLA, and complying with the nostrification decree.

According to the official certificate of the Commercial Court in Prague of April 29, 1922 No. 1684/22, the dept. B volume X, page 125 a new company is registered in place of Hélios:


At the very beginning, the old-new company with a new company in its headline had many worries in new relations with its sister Austrian company, now bound together by a solid production-technical and economic-financial program with the participation of banking groups in Czechoslovakia and Austria.

In addition to the Sušice match shops, the Prague SOLO received a factory in Bernartice and Třešť and an apartment building in Královské Vinohrady in Prague. The new composition of the Board of Directors included the predominant participation of Czech capital, represented primarily by the Trade Licensing Bank in Prague. During the difficult deflationary crisis, the Czechoslovak SOLO struggled with domestic and foreign competition, and sought a contingent agreement with the party Schell and a nephew from Stará Dlouhá Ves near Sušice, which constantly disrupted trade relations on the domestic market with cheaper goods. This was accompanied by unresolved sales questions with Slovak matchmakers associated in a cartel store in Ružomberok. The board of directors wanted to solve the problem to its advantage by acquiring some Slovak companies or joint stock, and in this way tried to penetrate Slovakia and Subcarpathian Russia. That eventually succeeded. The law of concentration of production and capital also required application in cartel companies abroad. SOLO was involved in the Hungarian "Szikra" and the Yugoslav match company "DRAVA" in Osijek.

In connection with the crisis of sales on world markets, the predatory efforts of the powerful Swedish-American trust "Svenska Tändsticks Aktiebolaget" (STAB) to maintain a monopoly position in the world have had a significant impact. Representatives of both SOLO groups in Vienna and Prague watched with admiration the business ability of STAB CEO Ivar Kreuger right after the end of the war, when he sought to prevent most of the world's match markets. At the time, Kreuger controlled 150-160 match factories in 35 states.

In order to develop the company better and more efficiently, in 1935, on the recommendation of Živnostenská banka, it sought out an experienced ally, the Association for Chemical and Metallurgical Production in Ústí nad Labem, with which it intended to cooperate with a long-term interest association agreement. The cooperation with the Association created a huge penetration of SOLA into the chemical industry with an obvious deviation from the dependence of Vienna's SOLA. Political events with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler hastened the loosening of relations between the two corporations, as well as with the Association.

Prague's SOLO has firmly attached itself to the Association, seeing in it a more lasting guarantee of effective cooperation in conjunction with a significant perspective of international trade. Political circumstances hastened the new union of SOLA with the Association, to which the General Meeting gave its consent on December 27, 1938. The merger with the Association created a huge group of blocs, the potential of which was influenced not only by industry in the rest of the Czechoslovak Republic, but later became a key war-important company in which Sušice factories played a significant role in the production of chemicals.

Thus, in the whirlwind of national misfortune, the world-famous match concern SOLO of the joint-stock Czechoslovak match shops and arc factories in Prague ceased to exist at the time, whose production program included not only traditional match production into the chemical, paper and wood processing industries. Several years of cooperation with the Association for Chemical and Metallurgical Production, formerly based in Ústí nad Labem, should not only remain a friendly service for technical and commercial assistance, but pinned both companies into one large company controlled by the Czech-German financial oligarchy under the hegemony of Živnostenská banka in Prague. led by the well-known industrial big capitalist Dr. Jaroslav Preiss.

The position of the Sušice plants in the association's association had the distinctive character of the factory production of matches and paper objects, while the commercial and administrative agenda was handled by the General Directorate in Prague. At the end of September 1942, the Sušice plants employed 817 workers in the lower factory and 678 workers in the upper factory.

After the end of the war, at the end of 1945, at a joint meeting of the works councils in Sušice and Lipník n. Bečva, a proposal was born to separate match farms from the nationalized Association and to establish an independent national enterprise with its own administration within the planning of independent organizations. An important factor in support of the proposed action and an important step for the future construction and modernization of the Sušice plant is the decision of the Council of Ministers of 28 January 1946 to include match shops in the Czechoslovak Republic in the competence of the Central Directorate of the Woodworking Industry. The organizational plan envisaged the company's headquarters in Sušice, the establishment of a representative office in Prague and a special "SOLA" office for the Slovak region. However, the Slovak representatives of the matchmakers did not speak out for the SOLO joint venture and set up their own national enterprise.

According to nationalization regulations, Czech match shops were excluded from the property of the nationalized Association and by a decree of the Minister of Industry No. 1202 of 7 March 1946 published in Volume 80 of 9 May 1946, a national enterprise was established in agreement with the Minister of Finance.


Export affairs and their conditions were closely related to the production possibilities and the immediate ability to deliver the required matches in the shortest possible time and of first-class quality. Such demanding requirements have traditionally been met by the Sušice match shops, which have had workers and capable professionals for generations, caring for and guarding the proven quality of the world-famous "SOLO" matches. Matches are trademarks very popular and sought after by matches in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The oldest trademark was and is considered to be the trademark of the key image (Schlüssel in German), which was registered by the company "Bernard Fürth, Zündwaren, Schüttenhofen und Bergreichenstein" (in Sušice and Kašperské Hory) on July 14, 1895 under No. 261 in Pilsen. Following an amendment to the Trademark Act of 6 January 1890, the key image was supplemented by the word mark "SOLO SCHLÜSSEL", which meant "one key". This word mark SOLO became very popular in the public, so the company of Bernard Fürth decided to protect it by registration of 19 September 1903 under No. 664 in Pilsen.

The match business requires specific knowledge of market conditions, as the type and brand of imported matches have been adapted to the habits of the customer. In addition, it was necessary to legally secure the exported goods bearing the mark in the country of importation against unfair competition.

At the time of the founding of the match company Hélios / 1912 /, the latter agreed with SOLEM in Vienna to set up a joint match shop with the company name "IGNIS". After the end of World War I, the sales organization of the match industry of the former Austria-Hungary had to adapt to new conditions and so an independent sales company was established in the Czechoslovak Republic with the cooperation of the Austrian store "IGNIS", concluding the first agreement to share world markets and adjust prices. . Under this agreement, the SOLU in Prague was ordered to sell all outlets from the port of Trieste for the whole of the Mediterranean, the ports of the Red Sea, East Africa and the former British India, the Far East and the markets in which certain signs of drying were introduced. West Africa. The agreement guaranteed SOLU 10 % a share in STAB's exports and the Austrian SOLO participated in this share with 11% quota.

In the internal market, the Prague SOLO was worried about even contingent adjustments of Slovak producers and with the company Schell and nephew from Stará Dlouhá Ves near Sušice, which particularly stubbornly refused to cooperate in creating domestic prices. Only with the help of government authorities did it proceed to the cartel sale of matches in Prague. On July 1, 1919, the new sales company was registered in the Commercial Register of the Commercial Court in Prague under the name “Central Store of Factory Matches, spol. sro in Prague ”. The store was entitled to sell and buy other goods.

During World War I, the Swedish match trust occupied the best market of the Austrian match industry on world markets. It was not until 1921 that both SOLO groups managed to penetrate the former pre-war markets and resume interrupted trade relations. The struggle with the Swedish match giant STAB was not easy, it cost many financial victims to both SOLO companies, but the final success forced the Swedish competitor to negotiate the division of world markets.

In November of the previous year, the store changed its company name to "PLAMA", the central store of match factories, a limited liability company. obm. and moved to the headquarters building of the SOLO Group in Prague, Štěpánská 22. "PLAMA" exported matches on its own account in close cooperation with the Viennese store "IGNIS", whose chief executive was an experienced, known in international economic circles, matchmaker Bernard Fürth, former companion of the Sušice match shop. Perhaps it is his work and business ability that can be attributed to the fact that in the post-war period the Swedish STAB was pushed out of the former SOLO markets and, in addition, negotiations were reached on the price level of matches in the world. After 1922, permanent agreements between the Prague and Vienna communities of SOLA were implemented every year without financial obligations. They established a new store "LUMA", a shop of match shops SOLO, as and Schell a synovec, spol. sro obm. in Prague. "LUMĚ" was entrusted with the commission sale of matches in historical countries, while in Slovakia the cartel company "ISKRA" sold the matches to the matches, participation. Spol. in Ružomberok. The export of matches has been in constant decline since 1928.

The largest quantity of matches exported from Czechoslovakia was achieved in 1925 with an amount of over 7 million Kg. According to the agreement, it was in permanent business dealings with STAB and its English store "THE ALSING TRADING Co." Ltd. in London, with which it accounted for balanced matches at an average value.

Her competence included contact with customers in individual markets, and she used her sales representatives for this purpose. Sales in countries where STAB had an established monopoly were not included in the calculation of the average price. These were Gdańsk, Yugoslavia, Guatemala, France, Greece, Venezuela, Peru, Iceland, Albania, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Bolivia. In a contract of October 1936 concluded for another 15 years, the Prague store guaranteed with the 30% export share that it would not allow the export of matches from a factory other than the Czech Republic.

Goods for export were produced, at that time only by the Sušice factory. BF, on four automatic lines 48 hours a week. The output of one line averaged 150 to 160 thousand. boxes daily. The matches were delivered in boxes in various packages according to the customer's wishes (5 thousand boxes, 30, 50 or 75 veletuct; in boxes with different match contents of 20 -100 matches and with different stickers). In West Africa, in addition to The Scissors, the Best Key brand was introduced, and stamps were supplied to England according to customer requirements.

Under the pressure of the development of political changes in the autumn of 1938, the commission contract with the company Schell and nephew was canceled and LUMA continued to procure matches from the production of Sušice provenance for the rest of Bohemia. Of the average annual sales in the years 1932-1937 per 72 thousand boxes of 5 thousand boxes, about 26 thousand boxes fell on the occupied border. After the merger of Prague's SOLA with the Association in 1939, the LUMA store lost its original character as a commercial controller in the internal market of the match industry, but also acted as a price policy intermediary with the Slovak cartel concentrated in ISKŘE in Ružomberok. From January 1, 1941, the sale of matches in the so-called Protectorate was taken over by the German monopoly company in Berlin, its branch in Prague.

In April 1941, the Association took over all the agenda concerning matches in connection with the German match monopoly company Spolek as the legal successor of the Czechoslovak company SOLA. After the imposition of national administration on the group companies of the Association in October 1945, by Decree of the Minister of Industry of 7 March 1946 No. 783, OJ No. 44, the property of the LUMA store was incorporated into the Czechoslovak woodworking plants in Prague.

Based on a detailed analysis of export matters with STAB, the results of the arrangement were summarized in a memorandum dated November 1, 1938, according to which both companies undertook, inter alia, that STAB was entitled to the exclusive sale and distribution of matches for all SOLO production at all markets, except for the territory of Czechoslovakia

World War II initiated the termination of the contract with STAB for the years 1940 to 1945. PLAMA exported matches in 1940 to the Netherlands, 1941 to France and Greece and in the following years to Bulgaria and provided a forced contingent to Germany.

Like LUMA, the PLAMA store was incorporated in 1946 into the Czechoslovak Woodworking Plants of a national company in Prague, which took over business matters as well as the purchase of industrial products and raw materials and the exercise of trade licenses of national woodworking companies.

SOLO, match plants, national company based in Sušice.

The plant in Lipník nad Bečvou and the match shop in the lower BF factory in Sušice were incorporated into the property of the new national company.

During the further development of the national company SOLO Sušice involved in the wood processing industry, the direction of development was determined by wood, although matches remained the most well-known product for Sušice. Within a few years, the traditional product was pushed out by the production of wood fiber boards and their treatment and the production of honeycomb boards. The production of matches in the period until 1969 remained in the form of manual production on semi-automatic machines acquired in the years 1903-1922. The match box itself remained unchanged, the wooden rim and the drawer covered with blue paper, the flank of the box was provided with a sticker. The packages, most often 10 boxes, were still wrapped in one-color wrapping paper and affixed with a package sticker. Group packaging, most often 10 packages, was wrapped in wrapping paper and affixed with a large so-called poster sticker. Even in these conditions, the production and technology of matches is rationalized by small investments, especially in-house. The matchmakers underwent a real modernization in 1970, when the first fully automatic Hering 313 machine was purchased, later improved to the Hering 317. In a short time, the installation of the fully automatic Arenco wood production line followed. There is an increasing share of paper - cardboard for the production of drawers and flanges. For this, new high-capacity machines are purchased. Ten years later in 1979, the top ARENCO KL-4 match line is purchased and installed. The packaging is undergoing significant changes using polypropylene and shrink film. The chemical part of the production also underwent modernization by reconstructing equipment for the preparation of flammable mixtures. Everything was subject to a clear effort to keep SOLO matches on world markets. Gradually, the production of all drawers and flanges is transformed into a paper version with high-quality direct wet offset printing. There was also a change in the method of applying the throttling surface. Since 1958, labor productivity per worker has doubled and over 2 million boxes with almost 100 million matches have left the production line every day.

The share of matches in the total production of the company in 1988 represented 1/4 of the company's production. The share of matches in corporate exports was still significant. The share of matches in corporate deliveries to the internal market was also more than 3/4.

Deliveries of matches to the internal market were carried out through a number of trade organizations of the food industry and Jednota consumer cooperatives. The export of matches was provided by PZO Ligna Praha. SOLO matches were sold on the English market by Samaco LTD London. Over the last thirty years, matches have been exported from Sušice to the following countries:

Aden, Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Benin, Ceylon, Dubai, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Raja, Finland, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guinea, Haiti, Jamaica, Yemen, Canada, Canary Islands, Qatar, Kenya, Kuwait, Cyprus, Lebanon, Liberia, Madagascar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Togo, Tunis, USA, United Kingdom, Zambia. So it was true, Sušice matches all over the world.

Another change in the organization was the date of January 1, 1989, when SOLO, a state enterprise, Sušice was founded. This was followed by the unsuccessful privatization of the state-owned enterprise, which in 1996 resulted in the production of matches as an independent joint-stock company called SOLO SIRKÁRNA, as Since then, the modernization of match production has continued unabated. Additional lines were added, the third fully automatic line ARENCO KL-4, semi-automatic line for the production of household matches DZ 240, semi-automatic line for the production of household matches DZ 100/250. The company's export sales increased to a full 400 million boxes in 2006. Sales to the domestic market, on the other hand, fell to 50 million boxes. In 2007, the first decline in export sales was recorded. On the one hand due to the decline in the general consumption of matches in the world and on the other hand by the loss of some markets. At the end of 2008, the own production of matches in Sušice is terminated and the company is transformed into a trading company of matches and other objects based on flames. Thus, after 170 years in Sušice, the production of matches ended.