This week we had a day with no meetings, so we decided to see something unique which our Mission President’s wife had told us about. We drove to Czestochowa, a town fairly close to Katowice, and found the Match Factory Museum. This was something totally different than our usual sights in Poland. The original factory was built in 1881, destroyed by fire around 1915, than rebuilt to what we see now as a museum. Because no one at the museum spoke English, we were at a bit of a disadvantage, but we still learned a great deal about the production of matches in those years when they were a total necessity in every household. It was a unique and fascinating place, and we were glad we took the time to experience another part of this country’s history.
When we drove up to the address we put on the GPS, we at first thought that we were at the wrong place. It looked like everything had been closed for years at this building. Then we discovered a little sign by the brown door on the right, and, sure enough, this was the place.
We tried the door, but it was locked; so we rang the doorbell. This man let us in, and with our limited Polish language skills, let him know that we wanted to see the factory. He said he didn’t speak English, and we told him we didn’t speak Polish. But he still managed to give us a good tour, and we understood most of what he was pointing to and making hand gestures to illustrate.
Aspen wood was used to make the matches, and the log was shaved into thin strips with this machine.
The strips of wood were cut into match-size pieces, and the pieces were put into individual slots in this machine.
They were three tiers of matches in their slots as they moved along a conveyer belt type thing and dipped in the igniting solution which is at the end of a match.
Here is a closer view of one of the tiers.
At the end of the machine, the matches came out of the slots.
They were put into trays, making them ready to be put in the boxes.
This is a picture we took of a picture showing the entire machine. One machine can produce 1,000,000 matches per hour.
The matches were then put into boxes by another machine, moved along this conveyer belt, and closed by an arm that came out and closed the box.
In the museum was a display of all the different match box covers that have been on the boxes produced by this factory. They even had John F. Kennedy on one of them, plus Grace Kelly on another.
Another display showed match art forms, each one made with an individual match. Quite interesting and creative.
This model of a little Polish hut and yard was made of matches.
This structure was made of 25,000 match boxes.