Having been opened since September 2005 and established on the initiative of The National Museum of the Przemyśl District, THE BELLS AND TOBACCO PIPES MUSEUM is a branch of the National Museum of Przemyśl District. It is housed in a historical late Baroque Clock Tower from the years 1775-1777. The tower is eight storey and 28 meters high and equipped with two observation balconies. Its location in the centre of the old quarter of the town helps the building function as a museum especially since the objects being presented there are indisputable and constant attraction for the tourists.
Przemyśl city since at least the 3rd quarter of the 19th c. has been a center of tobacco pipes manufacturing. At the same time it is the town to which the Felczyński Bells Factory moved from Kałusz, Ukraine. So, in one old clock tower of a fascinating architecture are housed two separate expositions arranged in an interesting way and testifying to the achievements of Przemyśl craftsmanship.
Due to overhaul carried out in the building and extension of the exhibition carried out recently tobacco pipes presentation has been modernized. Also some slight changes have been done to the choice of small bells in display cases.
It is difficult to exhibit in one building two different groups of objects namely great bells and small artistic items as pipes. Yet, by use of natural interiors of the belfry (for example use of construction of the suspensions and implementing of specially designed exhibition equipment) a mood of authenticity and simultaneously of a real museum has been reached.
Tobacco pipes exhibitions are set at the bottom and two first storeys whereas bells are on show in bell shaft comprising the space of four subsequent levels beginning from the second floor.
At the first bell level the bell production process (unchanged since the Middle Ages) is displayed, and at the other three levels are presented bells and related items. Large examples of bells are suspended from special steel scaffolding placed inside the tower shaft. Among them products from 17th and 18th c. Gdańsk (Danzig) and Toruń (Thorn) workshops are worth noting.
Two bells relate to Przemyśl, both are embellished with elements of Przemyśl blazon. The first one is probably from Przemyśl City Hall, and funded by city mayors: Czehowicz and Grzybowski in 1740, and a bell from the year 1878 cast by bell maker Jan Jaroszewski in the presence of the then city mayor Waygart. Interesting is also richly decorated bell from Daromin village near Sandomierz, made in 1935 by Ludwik Felczyński in his Przemyśl Factory, and probably ordered by the then pope Pius the 11th. Exhibitions are supplemented by documents and archival materials of Felczyński family that since 1808 in Kalush (now Ukraine) and since 1915 in Przemyśl has been involved in bell making. Nowadays Felczyński bells are being made in two foundries in Przemyśl and in one factory in Taciszów, Silesia. On the subsequent floor we present ship bells from the Central See Museum in Gdańsk and Navy Museum in Gdynia.
Tobacco pipes exhibitions skillfully arranged in between architectural elements of the tower in the course of time gradually are being modified especially due to new purchases and donations. On the first floor are shown tobacco pipes from our museums holdings. Unremarkable yet precious due to their historical values are clay pipes, mainly from famous Schlesis Fabrice manufactory in Zborowskie Region, or bowls of composite pipes, mainly so called Schemnitz pipes, café-pipes from Kolin near Prague, and so called Istanbul pipes, and products from the turn of the 19th c., defined as Galician pipes.
The greatest part consists of artistic meerschaum pipes predominantly made in the 19th c. in Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and Germany. Interesting are porcelain pipes, decorated with hunting motifs and female portraits. As for wooden pipes especially valuable is a unique animal head-shaped pipe bowl. A separate group is constituted by hunting pipes often named as St Hubert’s pipes. Interesting supplement are small pipe smoker’s equipment and accessories. Touristic attractions are hookahs (nargilas).
Until recently the last, seventh floor has housed an exhibition dedicated to contemporary artistic and regular Przemyśl tobacco pipes. Now that place is housing a new exhibition entitled “HISTORY OF PRZEMYŚL TOBACCO PIPE”, and presenting Przemyśl pipe making manufactories in the context of short history of that craft in Przemyśl.
The very beginnings of pipe making in Przemyśl, confirmed by the sources date back as early as the 2nd half of the 19th c. Sooner, after a short absence of that craft in Przemyśl pipe making revived thanks to Wincenty Swoboda (1876-1941) a newcomer from Bohemia, and has until now been flourishing. His manufactory named PIERWSZA KRAJOWA WYTWÓRNIA DLA WYROBÓW DO PALENIA. WYRÓB WSZELKIEGO RODZAJU CYGARNICZEK, FAJEK I LASEK WIŚNIOWYCH WINCENTY SWOBODA [WINCENTY SWOBODA’S FIRST NATIONAL FACTORY OF SMOKING ACCESSORIES. PRODUCTION OF ALL KINDS OF CIGARETTE HOLDERS, TOBACCO PIPES AND SOUR CHERRY WOOD STICKS] was owned by Swoboda family until the end of WWII. Within the 32 year time W. Swoboda educated a number of disciples and employed many a man. From his workshop came the best Przemyśl pipe makers including Walat bothers and Wiktor Winiarski, whose disciples continue their master’s craft.
The most talented follower of Wincenty Swoboda was Ludwik Walat (1907-1981). It was his name that gave the name to Przemyśl tobacco pipes so now they are usually mentioned as “walatówki” [valatoovkey]. After W. Walat died his followers were Ryszard Kulpiński and Ryszard Filar who ran their workshops until recently.
Now in Przemyśl it is R. Filar’s disciple Bartłomiej Antoniewski who produces briar pipes. Filar’s second follower Tomasz Samsel lives in Australia where he also runs a pipe factory and makes Przemyśl craftsmanship famous.
Wincenty Swoboda’s another disciple was Wiktor Winiarski. After his master had died he together with Zbigniew Mazuryk established the Beskid Co., Kazimierz Róg and Czesław Partyka being employed there and sooner significantly continuing pipe making traditions as separate producers. In 1991 Kazimierz Róg started working together with Zbigniew Bednarczyk, the latter now runs his own pipe business and is famous for his cultural activities in the area of pipe smoking traditions in Poland and abroad. It was Róg’s workshop where also apprenticed Mariusz and Artur Bednarczyks, now separate producers.
The second prewar company dealing with pipe making was PIERWSZA POLSKA FABRYKA FAJEK I CYGARNICZEK JAKUBA POLLERA [JAKUB POLLER’S THE FIRST POLISH FACTORY OF TOBACCO PIPES AND CIGARETTE HOLDERS]. Born in 1897 Jakub Poller established the factory in 1924 and in a short time developed it to the degree that it became a real rival to Wincenty Swoboda’s business. Poller’s workshop operated even during the WWII, when he directed his business clandestinely. After the war was over he ran his firm coping with difficulties created by communism, sometimes succeeding sometimes being defeated by the regime. He died in 1970. Until the 1970’s active was Józef Wilk’s company from which Jerzy Dudziak and Stanisław Solarski’s firm emerged. Until now, after Poller’s disciple Paweł Worobiec family traditions of pipe making maintain Henryk Worobiec and his son Mateusz.
Apart from the producers whose lineage as for pipe making masters comes from Master Wincenty Swoboda or Master Jakub Poller, in Przemyśl also existed and still exist workshops of pipe makers known as “independent producers”. Among them the earliest manufactory was that of Kazimierz Sochacki, nowadays being operated by Tadeusz Poliński and his wife Celina. Through a short time at the pipe making market active was the company owned by Józef Misiuk and Miron Chudio. In Przemyśl operates also the sole producer of clay pipes – Marek Parol.
Our new exposition has been prepared with use of documents and objects belonging to the earliest pipe manufactories that existed in Przemyśl and producers continuing rich traditions of Przemyśl pipe making.
Pipe making is a rare profession and Przemyśl is the only center of pipe making in Poland. Tourists who come to Przemyśl also use to be interested in technology of pipe production. Alas it’s not always possible to visit any pipe workshop, that’s why at our exhibition we present an exemplary pipe workshop with its old equipment and tools.
With Przemyśl are strictly connected pipes that were brought by the defenders of the Przemyśl Fortress. As the recent researches proved pipes were being made in the fortress in an amateur way also.
Our exhibition has been equipped with explanations on the plates.
The next to last floor is circled with a balcony and serves as a showroom for temporary exhibitions.