Development of industry in Tomaszów Mazowiecki begins in the first half of the 19th century, when Count Antoni Jan Ostrowski decides to turn his land into an important centre of textile production in the Kingdom of Poland. For this purpose, he brings to Tomaszów clothmakers from Silesia and Saxony and starts investment activities enabling settlers to carry out their craft. The natural conditions are favourable – there is an abundance of water and raw materials. Ostrowski draws up the articles of association of the Tomaszów Mazowiecki Factory and Trade Company and the Tomaszów Mazowiecki Russian-Chinese Company; he also proposes to the President of the Bank of Poland, count Ludwik Jelski, a project consisting of setting up a wool warehouse and establishing a local branch of the bank. In his memorial to The Most Honourable President of the Bank of Poland, he presents the structure of Tomaszów enterprises:
„Tomaszów now is counting on cloth makers having their own finishing shops,* mostly dyeworks (…); shipping cloths to Russia on their own account, of which there are six. These manufacturers own houses, estates, palaces, and gardens in Tomaszów.”
Ostrowski mentions the then richest manufacturers: Wilhelm Blachmann, Jan Krzysztof Gröhe, Wilhelm Hertel, Karol Uhlman, Lewek Syber, and Wilhelm Pusch. In the memorial, he also refers to two „entrepreneurs** running large wool mills”, their „spinning and finishing machines supplied by water, powered day and night”. These plants are: the Old Spinning Mill of Edward Barchwitz and Adolf Offerman (manufacture since 1825) and the Batavia factory building owned by Benjamin Hütmann and Franciszek Dantine (manufacture since 1827). He is convinced that both mills provide yarn whose “superior grades” surpass German and Dutch products. Ostrowski mentions not only manufacturers but also master clothmakers and poor clothmakers having only their own home workshops. Although the Bank of Poland does not approve his proposal to establish a branch, it offers Tomaszów clothmakers loans for the purchase of wool and assistance to the Tomaszów land owner in the launch of a wool warehouse. Tomaszów gradually becomes one of the largest industrial centres of the then Masovian Voivodeship. In 1824, it is granted the status of an industrial and trade settlement; the number of Tomaszów textile workshops continues to grow (from 56 in 1823 to 256 three years later). In 1828, the value of Tomaszów industry exceeds 3.5 billion zlotys, which accounts for 7.74% of the value of wool fabrics manufactured in the Kingdom of Poland and about 15.65% in the Masovian Voivodeship. Fabrics from Tomaszów are sold not only in the Kingdom market but also in the Eastern market. On 6 July 1830, Tomaszów receives town rights; at the time, it has 500 houses and 3,250 inhabitants. It has a post office, tax office, goods shipping centre, hotel, pharmacy, and the Apollo Theatre.[i] Despite the events taking place in the country (outbreak and fall of the November Uprising) and in the town (exile and death Ostrowski), Tomaszów industry gradually recovers. In the 1850s and 1860s the manufacture increases, with such products as: thin and medium fabrics, woollen fabrics, cord, carpets, czerkas, and tallit fabrics. This period sees the development of spinning mills, dyeworks, and fulling mills, industrial mechanization, and electrification of factories. Towards the end of the 19th century and in the early years of the new century, Tomaszów enjoys a period of intense industrial production.
* Fabric finishing is the technological activity of improving raw and dyed fabrics. It included such processes as fulling, washing, drying, shearing, brushing, and calendering. The definition and fragments of the memorial come from: Tomaszów Mazowiecki na progu kariery przemysłowej. Memoriał Antoniego Ostrowskiego właściciela dóbr ujezdzkich do prezesa Banku Polskiego, ed. R. Kotewicz, Piotrków Trybunalski 1986, p. 6.
** Leaseholders of the property of Ostrowski in Tomaszów Mazowiecki.
*** P. Chwaliński, Zakłady H. Landsberga w Tomaszowie Mazowieckim w latach 1857-1939, Łódź 2009, pp. 15-16.
**** Ibid., p. 17.
In the pictures:
1/2. Maurycy Piesch and Jakub Halpern Factory, Saint Tekla Street, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
3. Buildings of Batavia, source: “Echo Mazowieckie” 1927 No 33.
4. Industrial Tomaszów, dates: 1910-1939, National Digital Arcive Collection.
5. Tomaszów, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
6. Panorama of Tomaszów, picture from 1943, National Digital Archive Collection.
7. Houses of weavers found by Ostrowski, picture from 1940, National Digital Archive Collection.
The virtual exhibition Factory Town is devoted to selected factories and manufacturers of Tomaszów Mazowiecki at the turn of the 20th century. This is a survey exhibition to be expanded over time with additional text and photographic material. The exhibition is part of the “Membrany” project of the Pasaże Pamięci Foundation. It has been co-financed by the Museum of Polish History in Warsaw within the framework of the “Patriotism of Tomorrow” programme. The exhibition was prepared by dr Justyna Biernat on the basis of archival sources, bibliografic materials, notes “Fabryki dawnego Tomaszowa” (Old factories of Tomaszów) by Marian Fronczkowski as well as private collections of Jerzy Pawlik and Wiesław Strzelecki.
Plan of canal network of Tomaszowa Mazowieckiego (1926). In the picture selected factories except of Bornstein Factory which was situated out of the mapa (Warszawska Street 59/71). Source: Piotrków Trybunalski National Archive Collection. Acta: MRN and PMRN, zesp. 213, sygn. 1703.
CARPET, RUG AND COCONUT PRODUCT FACTORY
The factory settlement, nicknamed “Rolandów” or “Rolandówka”, was located in the vicinity of the Carpet and Rug Factory of Edward Roland. Initially, it consisted of about ten houses inhabited mainly by workers. The owners of the factory were sons of Roland: Samuel and Gustaw as well as his son-in-law Aleksander Müller. The partners decided to erect this factory in 1895 because expansion and modernization of the existing building on Kaliska Street was not possible. Therefore, they acquired from count Juliusz Ostrowski a forest areas called “Nad gościńcem” (By the roadside) located by the road from the village of Niebrów to Tomaszów Mazowiecki. The factory had a spinning mill (three hundred spindles), weaving mill (two hundred mechanical looms and thirty-six handlooms), and a dyehouse (six boiling vats); is was fitted with electric lighting. It manufactured carpets, rugs, and doormats from such raw materials as wool, jute, coconut fibres, paper, and flax. At the turn of the 20th century, the factory employed sixty men, thirty-one women, and four “youngsters” aged 12-15, i.e. a total of ninety-five people. In 1912, Aleksander Müller became the sole owner of the factory. Before he met Benjamin Eduard (Edward) Roland and married his daughter Emilia, he had worked as a commercial attorney at the cloth factory of Edmund Fryderyk Knothe. After taking over the carpet factory, he established trade relations with Russia and visited his subsidiaries in Moscow, St Petersburg, and Odessa. Müller was an active member of the Lutheran (Evangelical-Augsburg) parish as a member of the Church Council. He gave his land and patronage to the Evangelical Nursing Home for the Elderly and the Poor at No 11 Jeziorna Street. He sat on the committee for the construction of the Saviour’s Church on Św. Antoniego Street; in 1903, he co-founded the seven-form School of Business; he was also a member of the Volunteer Fire Guard of Tomaszów Mazowiecki.*
He continued the work of his father-in-law, who began his industrial career from a small workshop on Polna Street. Initially, Roland was in charge of just two divisions: the spinning mill “with two common wheels”** and the weaving mill with two handlooms for smooth, transparent fabrics. He was a master clothmaker employing one apprentice and one helper. He gradually increased production, specialising in czerkas, wool and semi-wool raw materials as well as white percale, chingan, colour batiste, barragon, scarves, and shawls. Later on, he moved his enterprise to Kaliska Street and soon after he handed it over to his sons and son-in-law.
In accordance with the production data of Roland’s successors, the highest production value was recorded in 1899, followed by a slowdown due to the Russo-Japanese War and the revolutionary events. The workers of the Carpet Factory joined strikes over long working hours (the working hours were from 6.30 am to 7 pm with a lunch break between 12 noon and 1 pm) and against the factory rules and regulations called the Table of Penalties***, in place since 1898.
At the outbreak of World War I, the factory employed three hundred and fifty workers and operated two hundred and sixty looms and two thousand spindles. In 1920, the company began to produce cloth and its name was the Aleksander Müller Cloth, Carpet and Rug Company.
*S. Balzer, Aleksander Müller. Producent dywanów i dobroczyńca w Tomaszowie, trans. E. Kononienko-Pawlas, „Zeszyty Ewangelickie” 2005 No 1.
**Od Rolanda do Weltomu, ed. A. Wojciechowski, Łódź 1978, pp. 1-2.
***Table of Penalties
Article 1 Each employee arriving for work between 5 and 10 minutes late (after the steam whistle) pays a penalty of 5 kopeks, between 15 and 30 minutes late – 15 kopeks, and those who come more than 30 minutes late will not be admitted to the factory and will have to wait until the work break, i.e. until 12 noon.
Article 2 Workers who do not report for work for a number of days without an excuse will pay a penalty of 30 kopeks for each day and will not be paid the wages for the days they were absent.
Article 3 Moving away from the machine to the workshop without a reason or talking with other workers so that they cannot work – penalty of 5 kopeks.
Article 4 Not cleaning the machine – penalty of 15 kopeks.
Article 5 Disturbing peace with shouting, noise, tussling – from 5 to 50 kopeks.
Article 6 For insubordination – from 5 to 50 kopeks.
Article 7 For vulgarity and stupid expressions by workers – from 10 to 50 kopeks.
Article 8 For smoking cigarettes in the factory and for careless handling of fire – from 5 to 10 kopeks.
Article 9 For defects in goods and careless work – from 20 to 80 kopeks.
In the pictures:
1. Edward Roland Factory, source: Od Rolanda do Weltomu...
2. In the background Factory of Roland, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
3. Felt and Technical Fabric Factory, Stock Company Lüdert & Müller, old Batavia, date 1939, Wiesław Strzelecki Collection.
4/5/6/7/8. Bills and correspondence, Carpet Factory, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
9. Stamp of Aleksander Müller, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
10/11. Aleksander Müller, as follows: Jerzy Pawlik Collection and National Digital Archive Collection.
HILARY LANDSBERG CLOTH PLANT
Chil (Hilary) Landsberg founded his company in 1857. Initially, it had only three handlooms and employed three people. Landsberg built his own production halls at the beginning of the 1880s at No 46 Gustowna Street. These were: the spinning mill, mechanical weaving mill, dyehouse, and finishing shop. In 1885, he employed fifteen workers, including four women and four boys under the age of fourteen. Over the next ten years, the workforce increased to two hundred and eight people. In 1895, Hilary’s son expanded the factory premises on Miła Street. A new wool warehouse was built and the factory was electrified (this was the first factory electrification in Tomaszów and one of the first in the Piotrków Governorate). Feliks took over his father’s company in 1898 and turned it into a joint stock company, which in 1907 was named the H. Landsberg Cloth Factories Joint Stock Company. He managed the company together with his brother Aleksander.
During the period of widespread industrial action, Landsberg’s workers refused to work. The protest continued from 1 to 14 February 1905; at that time, the manufacturer was unable to restore production despite the presence of strikebreakers and the protection of land guards.
Since 1908 the company enjoyed a strong increase in production thanks to a new steam engine as well as a drying apparatus and a wool-washing basin. Before the strike, the factory working hours were from 6.30 am to 6.30 pm. The machine operator and the stokers had to come in earlier than everyone else and they were the last workers to leave at the end of the day. The lunch break was between 12 noon and 1.30 pm. During that time, the steam engine was stopped and the workers were allowed to leave the factory premises. The factory was closed on all Sundays and Catholic holidays. The night shift applied only to spinning mill workers (hours: 6 pm–4 am with a break between 12 midnight and 0.30 am).*
The H. Landsberg Cloth Factories Joint Stock Company dealt with employee rights and responsibilities. The workers were entitled to free medical care, medication, and hospitalization at the expense of the factory. Since the 1890s, the factory also had its ambulance room with one bed, acting as the factory outpatient treatment facility (the doctor came two or three times a week). The factory doctor at the Landsberg company was Dr Seweryn Sterling. He also treated workers at the factories of Jakub Halpern, Dawid Bornstein, and Mordka Salomonowicz.
The factory had its own Table of Penalties divided into three parts. The workers were fined for being late for work, careless handling of fire, failure to maintain cleanliness in factory buildings, cleaning of machinery in motion as well as negligence. It was forbidden to organize play for money, smoke in inappropriate places, drink intoxicating beverages, and disrupt work with shouting, quarrels, and fighting.
The Landsbergs were actively involved in the life of the town. Aleksander was the first president of the Jewish community of Tomaszów and in 1904 its council also included Samuel Steinman and Chaim Rubin. In 1905, Aleksander together with Feliks founded the Municipal Theatre of Tomaszów Mazowiecki. After Aleksander’s death, the joint stock company granted Aleksander Landsberg scholarships to talented youth for their educational achievements.
*P. Chwaliński, Zakłady H. Landsberga…
In the pictures:
1/2. Landsberg Factory, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
3. Correspondence from the time of II World War, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
4. Landsberg Factory, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
5. Cloth and Cord Factory, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
FINISHING SHOP AND DYEHOUSE OF MAURYCY PIESCH
The enterprise of Maurycy Piesch called Farberei und Appretur Moritz Piesch, consisting of a finishing shop and dyehouse, was founded in 1874. Piesch came to Tomaszów from Bielsko‑Biała in 1873 and found employment as an accountant at the spinning mill of Adolf Elbel. He soon married Adolf’s daughter Elżbieta, and after her death he married Zofia Elbel (also Adolf’s daughter). In 1877, Piesch together with Dawid Halpern established the Volunteer Fire Guard of Tomaszów Mazowiecki and became its first chief. He financially supported the construction of the Saviour’s Church on Św. Antoniego Street and the construction of the School of Business. Piesch went on business trips to China, Japan, and North America.
His factories were located on Św. Tekla Street, adjacent to the River Wolbórka. Initially, it was a small plant employing forty-three workers. With time, new investments were made in the form of erection of a coach house and stables, addition of a new floor above the wool warehouse (1895), installation of a steam boiler, and construction of residential outbuildings for factory workers as well as the palace of the factory owner. In 1910, a new finishing shop was built with storage facilities. In the period from 1898 to 1900, the Piesch factory employed between three hundred and twenty-nine and three hundred and sixty-three workers. The goods were exported to the Russian market, the Caucasus, Orenburg, and the Far East. After the death of Maurycy Piesch in 1914, the enterprise became a joint stock company under the name General Company of the Spinning Industry Allart, Rousseau & Co. SA (Société anonyme des Établissements Allart, Rousseau et Compagnie). In 1925, Allart and Raussau took over the remaining shares (they had held 25%) and became the owners of the factory.
Since 1896, Maurycy Piesch was also a co-owner, together with Ignacy Sachs, of the match factory in Tomaszów Mazowiecki. It was located at the junction of Św. Tekla Street and Farna Street and initiated the development of the chemical industry in Tomaszów. In 1899, the factory employed one hundred and seventeen workers. It manufactures the so-called Swedish matches, which were a novelty on the Russian market. The illustrations on the “cavalry matches” from Tomaszów showed images of women.
Coincidentally, women accounted for a major proportion of workers and actively joined the strikes in the town. Tomaszów was the scene of widespread unrest in 1904. It was started by the workers of the ironing room at the Piesch finishing shop, who on 16 January forced the foreman Józef Grajwich to abandon his post. On 16 March, the workers at the match factory, led by Adam Nowak, Jakub Niedzielski, and Szymon Warych, forced out the foreman Brunon Eichler. A similar action was taken by the Piesch factory workers against the foreman Apfell.* On 31 January 1905, a group of one hundred and fifty workers from the Piesch factory made a round of all plants, calling for stoppage of work. On 1 February, all 43 factories were stopped, with the workforce of 3,447 people. The strikers gathered in the town square and were addressed by a worker from the Piesch factory – Wilanowski.** On 6 February, the workers were dispersed by the army. However, they obtained wage increases and a reduction of the workday. The strikes in Tomaszów Mazowiecki were reported in the Tydzień Piotrkowski:
„After two weeks’ unemployment, on Tuesday 14th of this month, all local factories resumed production; the workers had their wages increased by, on average, 10 kop. per day, i.e. 60 kop. per week. The strike went very peacefully and if the employers had proposed a pay rise earlier, it would have probably stopped much earlier.”**
**Z Tomaszowa Rawskiego, “Tydzień Piotrkowski” 1905 No 9, 26 February, p. 3.
In the pictures:
1/2/3/4/5. Palace of Piesch and its surrounding, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
6/7. Correspondance from the time of II World War, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
8. Surrouning of Piesch’ palace, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
9. Piesch family in the front of the palace, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
10/11. Advert of Piesch Factory, source: “Rocznik Adresowy Guberni Królestwa Polskiego na rok 1900”, Warszawa 1899.
ZUSMAN BORNSTEIN CLOTH FACTORY
Before Zusman Bornstein opened his factory, he carried out his production activities by using just two handlooms. It was the year 1857; at that time, Fryderyk Stumpf (who came to Tomaszów from Zielona Góra in 1824) operated a factory in Starzyce, which consisted of a weaving mill, spinning mill, finishing shop, and dyehouse. In 1833, Stumpf leased a piece of land, built a weaving mill, and outfitted it with sixteen looms. He also owned a fulling mill and a dyehouse with seven boilers. Even as late as 1850s, the plant was powered by water. At the time, the factory employed eighty workers and its director was Karol Sarre. In the 1860s, the machines were modernized and the manufacture of thin cloths was ramped up. Following the death of Stumpf, the enterprise was taken over by his son Otto; however, over time, the company incurred debts and in 1870 it ceased production.
Nineteen years later, Zusman Bornstein built a new weaving mill, dyehouse, and finishing shop in the settlement of Starzyce. Two water tanks, required for fabric finishing, were put in place. The factory produced satin, ksators, and sibirienne; it employed two hundred workers. After the death of Bornstein in 1911, his successors set up a joint stock company called Z. Bornstein Cloth and Cord Factory SA. Its shareholders became Zusman’s sons Adam and Emanuel. In 1913, the factory was electrified; it manufactured carding and worsted wools. The Bornstein Family also ran wool and worsted yarn dyehouse owned by Ignacy Bornstein, who employed fifteen workers.
In the pictures:
1/2. Jerzy Pawlik Colletion.
3. Cloth Exhibiton, source: “Ilustrowana Republika” 1929, 17 May.
4. Source: “Ilustrowana Republika” 1929, 17 May.
5. Source: “Ilustrowana Republika” 1932, 13 January.
STEAM BREWERY – CARBONATED WATER FACTORY
The Steam Brewery and Carbonated Water Factory recommended to gourmets: light and dark beers, lemonades (raspberry, lemon, and orange), crystal, frozen rum, and cider. In the Guide to the Town and its Environs (1935), the company situated at Nos 9-13 Browarna Street also advertised its natural orangeades of “highest quality and excellent taste”. The brewery was founded in 1890 by brothers Fryderyk Oskar and Fryderyk Aleksander Knothe. Oskar Knothe and his family lived on the grounds of the brewery, which after 1918 was managed by Oskar’s son – Ryszard. At that time, the company belonged to one of the largest food processing companies in the Brzeziny County. It employed between twenty-three and thirty workers, including five women, and produced about three thousand hectolitres of beer per year. The factory premises consisted of the two-storey brick building of the brewery, the building of the carbonated water factory, a two-storey cold store, a drying plant, a bottling plant, a malt house, warehouse, a garage, stables, and a cowshed.
The Knothe family had been entrepreneurs for generations. The brothers Tobiasz Emanuel and Fryderyk Tobiasz (grandfather of Oscar and Aleksander) came to Tomaszów from Zgorzelec in the first half of the 19th century. They built a brick house with workshop facilities at Św. Józefa Square. They owned two weaving mills employing a total of fourteen people. The brothers initiated the establishment of the Tomasz Mazowiecki Fulling Company and a fulling mill on the River Wolbórka. Over time, the Knothe Brothers Plant mechanized its workshops and began to specialize in the manufacture of cloth, rep weave fabric, and tricot-knitted goods, whose high quality was recognized with an award in Moscow in 1882. After the death of Fryderyk Tobiasz in 1866, the company was taken over by his son Edmund (father of Oskar and Aleksander), who changed its name to E. Knothe Cloth Manufacturing Plant.
In the pictures:
1. Tenement of Knothe at Saint Joseph Square, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
2. Advert of Brewery Knothe, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
3. Brewery Knothe, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
4. Grey-bearded Edmund Knothe with his sons (from the left): Oskar, Aleksander and Ludwik. Paweł Ulężałka Collection.
5. Knothe family (Edmund Knothe, his brother Karol Knothe and son-in-law Gustaw Bartke), Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
6. Knothe family, Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
7. Jerzy Pawlik Collection.
Advert of Factories, Source: Booklet of the Volunteer Fire Guard of Tomaszów Mazowiecki, 1927.