Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow
  1. Ipoh Remembered says:

    The brand is Swedish. It’s been around for more than a hundred years. I see the local manufacturer is identified as the Malayan Match Company. The name reminds me of one of Ipoh property magnate Archie Russell’s few unsuccessful ventures: Malayan Matches, Limited.

    In the mid-1910s, it was noticed in Malaya that millions of dollars were being spent on matches imported from abroad, largely from Sweden, Japan, and China.

    Seeing an opportunity to make profitable use of local resources, Archie Russell built a twenty-thousand-square-foot factory next to his giant coal-mine in Selangor — but the machinery and engineers he wanted to hire were German, and as the year was 1919, anti-German feeling ran high among government officials, so Archie’s machines and engineers were barred from entering the country.

    Eventually working with replacements from elsewhere, Malayan Matches finally began production in 1922. The little boxes had a picture of a tiger on the label and cost about ten cents each at retail. Being the first non-imported matches in the market they caused a small stir. In Ipoh, Aylesbury and Nutter were the distributors.

    The product was successful insofar as quality was high and plenty of matches were sold. Competition, however, proved too strong and, even though Archie kept pouring his own money into the company, Malayan Matches shut down in 1926, never once having shown a profit.

    As I said, it was one of Archie’s rare failures.

  2. Ipoh Remembered says:

    About this:

    The little boxes had a picture of a tiger on the label and cost about ten cents each at retail.

    I meant to say that, while each little box had a picture of a tiger on the label, the boxes were sold in packets (of ten boxes) for about ten cents at retail.

    For comparison: in those days, a dozen eggs sold for about fifty cents in the Ipoh market; and (as I mentioned elsewhere) you could buy a pound of Cold Storage butter for about thirty-five cents; or a two-pound tin of Lyle’s Golden Syrup at Pritchard’s for about seventy cents.

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