Route description:

Svobody Square – V Brance – 28. ríjna Bridge – T.G.M. Park – Sušice Hospital – K Vyhlídce – Krásná Vyhlídka Observation Point

History of match production in Sušice

It is not really known who invented the first combustible match. However, the name that is important for Sušice match production, is Štepán Röhmer. Röhmer was a Viennese pharmacist who started the production of combustible matches at the beginning of the 19th century. Vojtech Scheinost was a carpentry apprentice in Vienna in 1826 and when he completed his apprenticeship he started to work for the pharmacist Röhmer. Scheinost was employed to make a ‚wooden wire‘ which was essential match production. At Röhmer‘s, Scheinost met Marie Ubancová. She let Scheinost into the secret of preparing the chemical mixture. In Autumn 1839 Scheinost and Urbancová left Vienna and moved to Sušice. Shortly afterwards, they applied for a permit to start producing matches. On 31.10.1839 the Sušice authorities granted the permit. The beginnings were difficult but, now newly married, the Scheinosts started to work with great enthusiasm. However, they were in need of finance and as it often happens in life, they had to turn to a stranger for help. They approached the wealthy local businessman, Bernard Fürth, who started to supply Scheinost with the necessary goods, materials and also cash. This support made Scheinost so dependent on Fürth, that it was Fürth who eventually became the owner of the match factory, and Scheinost was the director and production manager. Since production soon could not match the demand, both Fürth and Scheinost aimed to enlarge the production premises. So a decision was taken to build a new factory. The permit to do so was granted on 9th of June 1844 and the first two buildings were completed by December the same year.

Five years later Bernard Fürth died and left behind a flourishing businesswhose products were known all over Europe. The heirs insistedon the condition stipulated by their grandfather - no member of theScheinost family was allowed to work in the match factory. Scheinostcould see no other alternative but to leave, which he did in 1865.Two years later he founded the new Upper Match Factory in Sušice.In the 1890s it began to be clearthat there were more matchesthan were needed on the market.No wonder, since at thattime there were 20 big matchfactories in Bohemia. In 1890the company was taken over bythe grandson of the co-founder of the Sušice matchindustry Bernard,the grandson of the founder,who was an excellent businessman andwho was, two years later, joined by his brother Dr Ernst Fürth,a graduate chemist.After long years of negotiations between the different companies whowere competing on the match production market, it was agreed to combinethe six largest Austro-Hungarian factories into the Solo Factory forMatches and Polishes, plc, with its seat in Vienna. Both of the Sušicefactories were amongst them. The public limited company received thefinancial support of the Provincial Bank andtherefore production could be rationalisedand the technical equipment modernised.Before the war, most of the SOLO productionwas for export. In 1922 the companies mergedand the Czech assets of the VienneseSOLO plc were taken over by HELIOS Ltd.and a new company was born: „SOLO“Czechoslovak Match and Reagent Factory with its seat in Prague –the Prague SOLO company comprised the Sušice factories and alsotwo more factories – one in Trešt and one in Bernartice. The PragueSOLO company with the brothers Fürth on the Board of Directors,kept buying shares of Slovakian, Polish, Hungarian and Yugoslavianmatch factories, and thus they built the foundations of the SOLOindustrial emporium.The companies were merged in 1938. The new company was ofprime importance during the wars, producing chemical substances.The SOLO concern came to an end as a result of the historicalevents that followed. After the Second World War (on 7. 3. 1946)a state company called SOLO,factory for matches, a statecompany residing in Sušice wasestablished and its name waschanged to SOLO SUŠICE StateCompany by an amendmentdated 10. 7. 1949.During the privatisation processthis company ceased to existand new company was establishedin 1996 SOLO SIRKÁRNA,a.s. with its seat in Sušice.Production was modernised and extended even after1996 when two more lines for match production were acquiredand the automisation of the production line reachedits peak. In 2006 more than 400million boxes of matches wereshipped out of the Sušicefactory, out of which 85 %were for export. Nevertheless,in 2008 match production inSušice ended and the machinery was sold toIndia. The 170 year old tradition of match productionwas over not only for Sušice, but for the whole republic.

History of matches in Muzeum Šumavy