Safety Matches is a small, but essential item of life. Safety Matches originated in China. In India, Matches were imported from France & England. Later in 1921, Matches were manufactured at Calcutta by machines. Two persons namely, Mr. P. Ayaa Nadar and Mr. A. Shanmuga Nadar took the know-how from Calcutta and started manufacturing Safety Matches at Sivakasi in South India from 1922.
From 1950 to 1975 the Safety matches Industries started spreading in spite of scarcity of Raw Materials. Many Small scale (Cottage) Units came up. In 1971 a red phosphorous manufacturing unit was set up to meet the demand of Small Scale Safety Matches manufacturing units in and around Sivakasi.
Slowly, Small Scale Cottage Industries manufacturing Matches came up in nearby Sattur and Kovilpatti Towns.

As the Industry grew The Pioneer Group started Potassium Chlorate (a vital raw materials for matches) manufacturing unit near Sivakasi.
In and around Sivakasi there are about 280 Small Scale Sector Units ('C' Scale) each of which produce more than 75 million sticks per annum.
There are about 2300 Tiny Sector ('D' Scale) Units each of which produce less than 75 million sticks per annum.
The break up for total production of Safety matches in India is as below:
   
Approx. Percentage
Machine based manufacturing units
30%
'C' Units - Hand made - Small Scale
58%
'D' Units - Tiny Scale
12%
 
Today Safety Matches Industry provides employment to hundreds of thousands adult labourers.
Export of Safety Matches from India has been steadily growing since last 10 years.