Before the sulphur match
The first sulphur match
Childrens labor
Womens fight for their rights
Work invironment
The laws
The swedish match industry
The match king, Ivar Kreuger
Was Ivar Kreuger assassinated?
H.C. Andersen and the matches
Drachmann and the matches

Child labor
At the end of the 18ths hundred  most children from the poorest families already worked 7-8 years of age. In most cases this was a necessity to help for providing support for the family. In addition to schooling , most children worked part-time - or by today's standards, a full-time job , because working was often up to eight hours.

At the same time it was also a common view that it was healthy for children to get out and learn how to work properly. After their confirmation they got out of school and got an apprenticeship or a job. An academic education was only for the most affluent children to receive .

While the children in the country site were often assisting on the farm , children in the cities worked typically in the house of strangers, as grocery boys or factory workers . Factory work was hard , dirty and often dangerous. Conditions were far from safe for the little workers.

Tobacco , textile and match industries are the industries that employed the most children . Often it was very young children who were employed and wages were very small. The worst thing was that the kids had to work with dangerous machinery and hand tools and with highly toxic substances. It caused damages and in some cases caused the death, because of the white and yellow phosphorus at sulfur sticking factories.

Descriptions from the past and others talk about how children's breath and clothing directly shined when they went home from the match factories late at night.

One of the pioneers of child labor was the doctor Emil Horneman .At the first Nordic industry meeting in Copenhagen in July 1872, he held  a very moving lecture on children's use in factories and succeeded his lecture with an article in the paper "Hygiene messages" . Basically he found child labor as healthy and instructive, but he also had a number of strong objections. He concluded in his speech that factory work could affect children's growth and development and that there may get diseases due to work. One of the things that make the biggest impression on him was to see children who worked on the sulfur sticking factories and had got phosphornecrosis.

Emil Horneman , who is deeply respected for his work on health and hygiene, got with his posts  politicians to respond rather quickly, and as a direct result of his work , the Law on Child Labor adopted 23rd of may 1873. The law was further tightened in 1889 and then repeatedly adjusted to improve conditions for children while they go to school .

Law about child labor in 1873

The doctor Emil Horneman´s article in "Hygiene messages" from 1872 about childrens use in factories.