Bryant and May survived for over seventy years as an independent company, but it no longer exists. They merged with other match companies and later with consumer products companies; and were taken over.
The registered trade name Bryant and May still exists and it is owned by Swedish Match; as are many of the other registered trade names of the other, formerly independent, companies within the Bryant and May group.
The company, Bryant and May, was founded with the specific aim of making only Safety Matches. They were influential in fighting against the dreadful disease known as Phossy jaw which was caused by white phosphorus used in the manufacture of the early matches.
They started in 1861, on a site in Bow, which had once been used for the manufacture of candles, crinoline and rope, but had fallen into disrepair. This site was gradually expanded as a model factory.
However the public were initially unwilling to buy the more expensive safety matches so they also had to make the traditional Lucifer Matches.
They were the target of the London matchgirls strike of 1888, which won important improvements in working conditions and pay for the mostly female workforce.
Bryant and May could not compete, so in 1905 they bought the assets and goodwill of the British Diamond Match Company; and the (American) Diamond Match Company acquired 54.5 percent of the share capital of Bryant and May.S.J.Moreland and Sons In 1913 Bryant and May also took over the Gloucester match maker S.J.Moreland and Sons, who made and sold matches under the trade name England's Glory.
Wilkinson Match's shares were acquired by US company Allegheny International between 1978 and 1980 with the company taking full ownership in 1980. In 1987, Swedish Match re-accquired the company. It later sold on the Wilkinson Sword business retaining the match business.
In the 1980s, factories in Gloucester and Glasgow closed too leaving Liverpool as the last match factory in the UK. This continued until December 1994. The premises survive today as The Matchworks office complex.
The former Australian match factory, in Melbourne, closed in the mid-1980s. This was converted into offices in 1989.
The British match brands continue to survive as brands of Swedish Match and are made outside the UK. Other parts of the merged company involved in shaving products survive, and still use the trade name Wilkinson Sword in Europe; and the Snick trade name elsewhere. However,the shaving products are made in Germany.
When Swedish Match acquired Bryant & May the confectionery arm of the business was sold and eventually the new owners stopped production of Vitafruit.
Striking a light; the Bryant and May Matchwomen and their place in history. (reprint, 2009).(Brief article)(Book review)
Oct 01, 2011; 9781441114266 Striking a light; the Bryant and May Matchwomen and their place in history. (reprint, 2009) Raw, Louise. Continuum...
Leading lights of the early labour movement ; A little remembered strike, inspired in part by the determination of 19th century Irish women in London's East End, deserves a place in labour history, writes Louise Raw
Jul 27, 2002; Young Irish women in London's East End were responsible for changing the lives of working people forever, new research has shown....