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Swamy & Susan IyerSwamy & Susan Iyer
Universal Match Corporation

The final years of match production in Bellefonte were conducted by the Universal Match Corporation, which purchased the operation in December 1941.

The economic boom that accompanied World War II greatly affected the Bellefonte plant, since it produced waterproof matches used by American servicemen stationed in the pacific. In addition, large numbers of matches were produced for domestic Army bases and camps. Peak employment at the Bellefonte facility reached 400 employees in January 1947.

Unfortunately, this prosperity was short lived. Effective July 1, 1947 operation at the Universal Match Corporation ceased. The closing was prompted by economic conditions. After World War II, the demand for wood matches constantly declined due to the greater use of book matches, cigarette lighters, and the use of kitchen appliances that did not require matches. Rail delivery of raw materials required 9 – 10 days more than delivery to other Universal factories. Third, the Bellefonte plant was designed for hand production methods and could not be readily converted to mass production methods without a large capital expenditure.

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