(This is a copy of a page of Pierre Leven's site - see links)

Far from being complete, this article resumes over 150 year of Belgian match production.

With only a few exceptions all match producing units were located along the 'Dender' river in the Flemish part of central Belgium.

1835 : Balthazar MERTENS started a small phosphormatch producing unit in its existing shoe-polish plant at Lessen. The plant needed to be expanded and was moved to Geraardsbergen (Grammont)(G) in 1850. The acquisition of the Swedish Balköping patent in 1855 continued the expansion. (Trade Marks (TM): The Griffon, The Obelisk)

1850 : Another plant opened in Geraardsbergen by M. BIDES continued after his death in 1870 by Victor DE SCHEYE (V.D.S.)(TM: The Juggler, silhouet series, The Horse)

1860 : A second match producing center started about 20 km away at Ninove (N) at first by VAN DEN BOSSCHE, VIOLON & CIE (TM: Acorn, The Shamrock) later joined by COBBAERT before becoming 'Allumetière de Ninove'.

Also producing were F. HOEBEKE (N) (TM: Anchor with Eagle) and C. DE LANNOIT at (G).

1870 : More new plants by: L. BIJL-CAMPEN (G) (TM: Red Star)and in the Gent area: ROCHE & CIE , F. COBBAERT (G) renamed in 1872 to "La Suédoise" and later COBBAERT & PROVE before a take-over by the K.E.T. (Köbenhavens Export Tändstikfabrik) in 1907. (™: The Lily, The Ermine)

1907 : Other than the plants mentioned above: CAUSSEMILLE & CIE (Gent), "Les usines de Denderleeuw", "La Grammontoise" (G) and L. COBBAERT (N).

1912 : Due to the pressure on the European market by Swedish companies, 8 Belgian companies joined forces in the "Union Allumetière" (U.A.). Among them: B. MERTENS, HOEBEKE & CO, KET, VAN DEN BOSSCHE, Usines de Denderleeuw and L. MATTHIJS (Havré).

1920 : However, the remaining companies have been bought one by one by Ivar Kreuger (Gen. Manager) from S.T.A.B. (Svensk Tändsticks Aktiebolaget) and started with the Trade name F.B.A. (Fabrique Belge d' Allumettes). Among them: V. DE SCHEYE, C. DE LANNOIT, L. BIJL-CAMPEN, CAUSSEMILLE, ROCHE and Nouvelle Fabrique d' Allumettes (Godarville).

This concentration left only Geraardsbergen and Ninove as production centers.

Not satisfied by these events some businessmen created new plants.

1920 : MERCKX Brothers (N) produced independently until 1970. (TM: Vervia)

1920 : La Sonégienne (Soignies) until 1930. (TM: The Black Cat) to U.A. in 1929.

1921 : STEVENS Brothers (N): Belga Match Works moved to U.A. in 1925. (TM: Belga Match)

1921 : La Coloniale Allumetière (N) ended in 1950. (TM: Radium Match, Congo Match)

1923 : Nervia Match (Okegem) until 1927.

1923 : S.A. Lux (Lessen) moved to U.A. in 1929.

1925 : Dendria Match (Denderleeuw) activities stopped in 1927.

1925 : Sogalfor (N) after been taken over by the Swedish Trust S.T.A.B. in 1932 it remained the only plant where production continued.

1929 : The already existing commercial links between U.A. and F.B.A. (STAB) came to a fusion called "Union Allumetière".

1944 : A new U.A. industrial complex opened after WW II in G with 1600 employers. At the time the company owned as much as 2000 ha = 4950 acres of poplar trees used in match production.

1976 : U.A. became N.V. UNAL including also the Dutch V.H.L.F plant.

1980 : The newly named UNION MATCH moved its Brussels office to G as only site.

1997 : Actually the official name of the company is Swedish Match Belgium.

1998 : Swedish Match Belgium has decided to stop the production in Belgium putting an end at 150 years of history.



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