Match factory

Jánošíkova Street No. 20

On land that was originally called Frambor, there is an area called "Pod Šašvarkou" where there is a building that the people of Žilina refer to as "sirkáreň", which has had various uses and has belonged to several owners. It was built by brothers Armin and Vojtech Weider from Budatín who bought the land and built a sweet-making workshop and a steam bath there in 1906. By 1908 the Weider brothers had changed the name of the workshop to "Factory for producing sweets and chocolate"; however, it had closed by 1914.

Samuel Wittenberg bought the abandoned building in 1914. He reconstructed it so matches could be manufactured there. Móric Folkmann, a builder, drafted the construction plans and compiled the relevant documentation for him. After a thorough inspection of the place and having taken into consideration all comments relating to the safety of residents and air pollution (sulfur, phosphorus), in March 1914 the municipality in Žilina authorised the construction of the factory. The machinery at the new factory was state-of-the-art and it was equipped with the latest safety and gas extraction equipment.

The Samuel Wittenberg and Son match factory was well-known for its production not only in Slovakia but also abroad. The company's products were stamped with the W.S. trademark, which appeared on the matchbox labels. Since the labels also had Žilina printed on them, the factory spread the good name of the town. After 1948 the company changed its name to Drevoindustria Bratislava, then to Drevoindustria Liptovský Mikuláš and in 1955 to Súľov Bytča national enterprise. From 1958 onwards it was owned by Drevoindustria Žilina. In 1966 a warehouse was built on site for the production of coffins, but it was only temporary, because the land was in an area where there were plans to construct a flyover. The premises on Jánošíkova Street were taken over by Obnova, which had a cooperage factory, as well as another timber producing operation, and also manufactured washing lines and doormats. In 1993 Žilmont bought the building from the town. It is the only company in Slovakia to produce climbing and static ropes, cords, straps, and belaying equipment. Therefore, in the attic and tower called the GILL ARENA, it has its own test climbing walls and training centre.

The building is one of the few remaining examples of early 20th century industrial heritage, valued for its purity of style and authenticity. In 2008 it became listed building no. 08 in Žilina because of its architectural construction.

Source: Mgr. Peter Štanský and Milan Novák

It can be visited

Position of the monument on the map: A3

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