As the demand for matches is fading and people use lighters to smoke nowadays, Bosnia’s only match factory is finding new ways to remain afloat and continue the production that has been around since 1901, reports Balkan Insight. Another problem is the cheaper matches imported from countries like China or Russia.
Generations have worked in the match factory in Dolac village since it opened in 1901, when Bosnia was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The company has survived the Habsburg empire, two world wars, Yugoslavia, as well as the Bosnian war of the nineties. Although business is no longer flourishing, the local tradition of production remains a source of pride in the tiny village near the town of Travnik.
“Apart from Dolac, people from Travnik and nearby Novi Travnik, and all the nearby villages have all worked here. This is simply our life,“ Haris Kulaglic, who has been with the factory since 1980, told BIRN.
In one shift, the production line can produce between 200 and 250 cartons, each filled with 100 packets of matches. Businesses buying the packets can also get company advertisements printed no them. The wood must go through a long process for it to be properly dried and refined before it is then ready to be laced with chemicals. The exact recipe for making the Dolac matches is a business secret.