In France, where the state produced all the matches and paid the costs of phossy jaw, government-subsidized scientists developed sesquisulphide, a substitute for white phosphorus, and by 1908 European match factories were all but free from phossy jaw.
Diamond Match Company, which owned the United States rights to sesquisulphide, made its process available to all manufacturers, free of royalties.
Diamond had purchased the French patent for sesquisulphide in 1898 (for $100,000), but found that the more costly matches would not be profitable as long as other manufacturers produced phosphorus matches.
The prime substitute for phosphorus in the production of matches was sesquisulphide, a compound that both cost a bit more than and was slightly inferior in quality to phosphorus.
A breakthrough came in 1897, when Henri Sevene and Emile David Cahen discovered sesquisulphide, a compound that could be used to produce nonpoisonous, strike-anywhere matches.
Two countries, Finland and Denmark, had prohibited the use of phosphorus in their match industries over twenty years before the discovery of sesquisulphide. Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Germany imposed comparable prohibitions once a suitable substitute had been found.
On the contrary, as early as March 1909, the president of Diamond Match had informed a special agent at the Bureau of Labor that his company gladly would permit other American match manufacturers to use its sesquisulphide patent on equal terms if the federal government prohibited the use of white phosphorus in match production.(31) Diamond had several interests in eliminating poison phosphorus from the industry.
Though Diamond's highest priority was to head off state legislation, the company was also interested in securing a return on its $100,000 investment in the sesquisulphide patent.
With Andrews's assistance, Diamond persuaded most of the major independents to submit to its terms for sharing the sesquisulphide patent by mid-October.
They explained that the prospect of state legislation was potentially disastrous for the industry and that they had offered to share Diamond's patent on the use of sesquisulphide with their competitors.
At a meeting in late December, Andrews convinced the president of Diamond to assign the company's patent rights in the sesquisulphide process to disinterested trustees.
Most notably, Diamond ultimately yielded to pressure from the AALL and relinquished its patent on the sesquisulphide process.