The history of the company

Matches – day to day usage item, at the beginning rare, later more and more common, nowadays hardly used.

Susice – the town by Otava river, in the Czech Republic called the cradle of matches manufactory.

Beginnings

The manufactory of matches in Susice was started by Vojtěch Scheinost. Starting from 1826 he had been studying carpentry in Vienna. After graduation he started to work for chemist Rohmer, where he produced the wooden part of matches. This was a time when he met Maria Urbancova, who worked for Rohmer as a housekeeper. Thanks to her help Scheinost learnt about the chemical side of producing matches such as phosphate mixtures, which was a secret back then. Urbancova used to help in this process so she was familiar with them.

During the fall of 1839 Scheinost and Urbanocva left Vienna and they moved to Susice. In October, Scheinost applied for a match manufactory permission. Due to lack of money, he had to enter a partnership with Susice’s merchant Bernard Fürth. On the 5th of December 1840 they received essential goods to start the production. A division was the following: Fürth invested into wood and chemicals;? Scheinost gave back matches. Back then he was the one who had the council’s permission. In order to become independent of Scheinost, Furth applied for his own permission. He wanted to produce phosphonate.

In 1844 the rented area was not big enough for their constantly growing production. That is why Fürth decided to build his own factory.

Bernard Furth died on 26th of September 1849.

The conflict between Scheinost and Fürth‘s decedents emerged. Due to this, Scheinost decided to split his ways with the family of Furth; he opened his own factory. This is how was set up the so called “Upper Factory” of Vojtěch Scheinost.

In the 90’s of XIX century the match industry had been rapidly growing in the entire Europe. There were 20 big factories only in Czech and dozens of small ones. Their products were of low quality, but very cheap.

SOLO a.s. – co partnership

The price competition started to push big companies a side. In order to stop this, the owners of the biggest factories started to cooperate. That is how the argument between Vojtěch Scheinost and Furth’s decedents ended. Both Susice’s producers and five other entrepreneurs from Austro-Hungarian Empire set up SOLO, co partnership based in Vienna.

The company had been developing, moving towards automated ways of production. The major change happened after the First World War. The Empire collapsed and SOLO was divided into two: Czechoslovakian and Austrian entities. SOLO from Susice was based in Prague. There came a difficult time shortly after division. Both companies used to be one; they had one technology, suppliers and liabilities.

Under this circumstances SOLO operated until 1938. Due to political affairs, the company became a part of chemical consortium. Besides the matches, it started to manufacture packages.

SOLO national producer of matches

After Second World War the company was nationalized. According to a decision from 1946 the national producer of matches SOLO was created. The headquarter was Susice with the office in Prague. The company also owned the factory in Lipnik nad Becvou.

The company had been developing through years, constantly modernizing the way of production. At first they acquired Hering 313, then Hering 317 and finally Arenco KL-4 in 1979. The last one was the most modern, even currently used around the world to produce matches. All this led to a very intensive production: 100 million matches a day. Most of them were exported to different countries all over the world.

SOLO SIRKARNA, a.s.

Further changes came in 1996, when the company was privatized. From this moment the company was registered as SOLO SIRKARNA a.s. The development was still ongoing. An additional Arenco – KL-4 was purchased to produce household matches DZ 240 and DZ 100. Export was doing well too. In 2006 over 400 million matchboxes were shipped abroad.

Starting from 2007 the tendency was different. Only 50 million matchboxes were sold in the Czech Republic during that year. Export shrunk too, because SOLO lost some customers and markets. At the end of 2008 SOLO closed the production and focused on trade.