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William A. Fairburn

Diamond Match Company

1915 - 1947

Fabricated Goods

1910 b. 1876
UndergraduateUniversity of Glasgow
Born-Died1876 - 1947
FatherLaborer, Skilled
Era - 1910

Fairburn revolutionized U.S. match manufacturing by using sesquisulphate to produce matches rather than white phosphorus, which had been publicly condemned for leading to poisoning. Under Fairburn, Diamond Match controlled 90% of domestic match production and was closely allied with its British and European counterparts. In 1915, 100% of Diamond Match’s profits came from match sales. Fairburn diversified the company so that by 1940 only 50% of Diamond Match’s revenues came from match sales.