Gremio de Fabricantes

Interior box label

In 1892 the Spanish Government decided to create a state controlled monopoly for the manufacture and sale of matches and match boxes, and passed a law on the 30th of June stating that :

  • “The manufacture and sale of all types of matches and matchboxes will be treated as a State monopoly from July 1, 1892, and the importation of such items will be prohibited on the same date. The government shall be able to contract with and set up heads of agreements with the manufacturers who for this purpose shall be constituted as a guild (Gremio) in order to benefit from the monopoly in return for a minimum fee of four million pesetas a year, net to the Treasury and for a maximum term of fifteen years ….”
Gremio label, two side panels and base

From this date onwards the manufacture of matches and matchboxes was controlled by the Gremio de Fabricantes de Fósforos de España who’s directors were : Ricardo Roca, Santiago Lalanne, Luis Moreder, Marcelino San Román and Miguel Maria Guelbenzu. The text “Gremio de Fabricantes de Fósforos de España” appeared on the boxes together with the individual factory name. Importantly, this law tried to ensure there would be no competition from cheaper foreign products. 

Another contract was signed on December 22, 1892 which granted the “Compañía de cerillas y fósforos” exclusive sales rights in Spain and the Balearic Islands for all types of matches until February 14, 1908. 

 

Under the Gremio the number of factories was gradually reduced, to around 55, and just three types of matchboxes were produced :

In 1897 the Gremio needed to raise more revenues for the Exchequer and decided to include collectable cards (i.e. Inserts) in the spingflap boxes, like similar cards which could be found in cigarette papers and packets of tobacco. They hoped would generate interest and attract collectors and thereby sell more matchboxes, and it certainly seemed to work.

The contract with the Gremio ended in 1908, and this coincides with the decline of Inserts. Click here for a brief history of the entire Spanish Match Industry.

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