Match History

Going strong since 1877

Learn more about Match history

The creation of fire has always been vital to mankind’s survival. It was not discovered until the 19th century that certain chemicals, when subjected to friction, created fire and the match was born. Due to the poisonous chemicals used in match manufacturing and the danger of self-ignition, the first matches were dangerous.

The phosphorus match was known at least around 1820. Manufacture began in many European countries in the 1830s. These matched could be struck against any type of surface. The disadvantage was that they caught fire too readily, causing countless accidents.

In 1836, the chemical factory J.S. Bagge & Co:s Kemiska Fabrik i Stockholm was established. One of the managers, Gustaf Erik Pasch, experimented with matches and phosphorus. In 1844, he started producing his patented safety matches.

In 1844, the Swede Gustaf Erik Pasch succeeded in separating the components required for ignition between box and match stick, and the world’s first safety match was patented Oct 30, 1844. The Swedish saftey match perfected and patented in 1852 by Johan Edvard Lundström and his brother Carl Frans Lundström was a further improvement on Pasch’s invention.
This match received a medal at the World’s Fair in Paris 1855. The Swedish matches where recognized throughout the world as market leading in quality and safety.

During the 1860s and 1870s development was rapid and the making of matches was transformed from a handicraft to a large-scale industy. In Sweden there were as many as 155 factories.

In 1903, a number of match factories united as “Jönköping & Vulcan”.

In 1913, eight competing factories united to form AB Förenade Tändsticksfabriker, headed by Ivar Kreuger. Kreuger was a member of the family that operated the group known as the “Kalmar factories”. During World War I, the supply of raw material was cut of and the match business went down. A strategy was formed to acquire companies in the supply chain, like paper mills, machine manufacturers, etc. to secure the production.
In 1917, Jönköping & Vulcan was invited by Kreuger and his associates to merge with the company. The result was named Svenska Tändsticksaktiebolaget, STAB, (changed to Swedish Match in 1980). The company has evolved into the world leaded in the match market. During World War I, Jönköpingstrusten and STAB was united. At the end of the Kreuger era, STAB controlled more than 50% of the total match production in the world.

In 1915, Svenska Tobaksmonopolet, STM, was founded and was a part of Statsföretag AB. In 1984, changed to Procordia.
1992 Procordia acquires Swedish Match.
1994 Volvo acquires Procordia.

Arenco, founded in 1877, was incorporated in Svenska Tändsticks AB (STAB) in 1917 with a diversified product range covering, apart from match machinery, also packaging and fish processing machines. The quality of the products has always been considered to be in top position. The first continuous match dipping and box filling machine was invented in 1864 by the Swede Alexander Lagerman. From 1919, over 400 continuous match dipping machines have been sold worldwide. Out of these, 3/4 are still in use today.

Gustaf Erik Pasch (1788–1862), Johan Edvard Lundström (1815–88) and Alexander Lagerman (1836–1904) laid the foundations for the Swedish match industry. In 1844, Pasch patented the safety match, where dangerous yellow phosphorous was replaced by red phosphorous.

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Arenco is located in Sweden (Kalmar) and China (Shanghai).