What is the history of the Diamond Match Company?


Quick Answer

Ohio Columbus "O.C." Barber founded the Diamond Match Company in 1881. The company grew rapidly, producing 85 percent of the matches in the United States by the early 1900s.

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Full Answer

In 1860, there were around 75 matchmakers in the United States. With the mechanization of the matchmaking process, smaller companies found it impossible to keep up with the production of the larger companies and their more efficient machines. By 1880, the number of matchmakers dropped to 27.

Near the end of the 19th century, there were two giant matchmakers: Swift & Courtney & Beecher and O.C. Barber's Barber Match Company. The pair eventually merged along with 10 other companies to form the Diamond Match Company. Production began in 1881.

Diamond continued to expand in the 1880s and 1890s, purchasing five competitors within the first 12 months and buying out an additional five before the turn of the century. Diamond also temporarily opened operations in Europe and South America, but withdrew to North America before the start of the World War I. Beginning in the 1930s, Diamond expanded into a larger conglomeration, opening its own lumber mills and merging with paper, printing and plastics companies. Today, Diamond produces all of the box matches in the United States.

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