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Iskra and Karmański
Krakow, Poland
1894 - Current

 

Aliases

 

Iskra and Karmański Paints and Painting Tools Factory, 1890s-1904

Gabryela Górski i Ski, 1904-1918

Iskra i Karmański Factory of Paints and Painting Utensils, 1918-

Iskra and Karmański

 

Locations                                                                                         

 

Debniki, Poland

Krakow, Poland

History

 

I have to give special thanks to my friend Wanda Marginean who helped me research this company.  As I do not speak or read Polish (and she does) , I asked her to do some research on it and boy did she find out the history.  So here you go:

 

Iskra and Karmański was founded in 1894, when Józef Karmański, an artist and painter, a student of Jan Matejko, founded a paint factory in Dębniki, Poland.  He came from Eastern Galicia (born January 9, 1865 in Bursztyn, Rohatyn district).  Initially, the partners of the company were Józef Karmański and Dr.  Józef Górski.  It was the first factory of artistic and decorative paints in Poland.  It had its representative offices in Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Sofia, Munich, Venice and Milan.  Józef Karmański, apart from his painting studies in Kraków with Jan Matejko and in Munich and Paris, also graduated in chemistry from the University of Krakow. 

 

Before the end of 1904, a new factory was established and called the Karmański factory.  It was founded by the Warsaw opera artist Gabriel Górski and Adolf Dotmeier.  The company's location moved from Dębniki to Zwierzyniec, to the site of today's building at ul. Królowej Jadwigi 29, which took its present shape in the interwar period.  The new company referred to the tradition of Karmański in its name "Paint factory, formerly J. Karmański i Ska, now Gabryel Górski i Ska". The factory quickly gained a great reputation, producing not only artistic paints, but also oil and water paints, as well as inks, canvases, brushes, pencils and all other items necessary for painting. The quality and reputation of Górski's paints is perfectly demonstrated by the note in Book XII of the magazine "Architekt" from 1906:  “Having used the factory's products for a long time for technical works, we have found out that these products are excellent and in no way inferior to the best foreign products of this kind.”  The opinion of the group of professors of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, signed by the director Julian Fałat, and professors: Axentowicz, Stanisławski, Józef Urzałycki, Leon Wyczółkowski and Józef Mehoffer  were summarized in the words: "For many years, constantly using the products of the paint factory, formerly J. Karmański i Sp. currently Gabryel Górski i Sp. in Zwierzyniec near Krakow we had the opportunity to see that they are very carefully prepared, perfectly grated, clean and strong in tone, and most importantly, they are distinguished by exceptional color durability.”

 

After Józef Karmański died in 1904, the company changed its name, owners and seat.  The company name changed to Gabryela Górski i Ski.  With the change, the new partners personally responsible for the company were Gabryel Górski, an artist of the Warsaw opera based in Warsaw and Adolf Dortheimer from Dębniki.  Now located in Krakow, they continued the production of artistic paints.  In addition to oil and water paints for artistic, decorative and school purposes, it produced colored inks, arabic gum, wooden and metal cassettes for painters, students and others, painting canvases, brushes and painting supplies.

 

At the same time, before the First World War, there was also a factory of paints and products in Krakow.  The owner of this company was Maksymilian Chyżewski.  The "Iskra" factory in Krakow produced, among others:  Polishes, shoe creams, leather finishes and footwear, metal polishes and powders, liquids for removing ink and ink stains.  In the interwar period in the Second Polish Republic, Maksymilian Chyżewski was the sole owner of the company continuing the traditions of the company of Józef Karmański, who died in 1904, and of his own company, Iskra.  He was a recognized entrepreneur in Poland in his industry.  Sometime in the 1920s, the company changed its name to Iskra i Karmański Factory of Paints and Painting Utensils in Krakow.

 

With time, the company lost its importance on the market, and in 1918 it was bought by Marian Chyżewski, the owner of the "Iskra" company producing paints and chemical products. In 1919, Chyżewski merged both of his plants and the "Iskra and Karmański Paints and Painting Supplies Factory" was established, with its seat at ul. Lublin. However, it is worth remembering that Zwierzyniec had an important stage in the formation of the Polish dyeing market.

 

Before World War II, the company expanded the range of production. It produced, among others: inks and inks, office adhesives, water-based paints, painting palettes, tempera, gouache and oil paints, oil and pastel crayons, drawing blocks and papers, painting cassettes, easels, canvases, looms, pallet knives, brushes, office suits, pencils, colored chalks for boards, etc.

 

The company has continued its operation to current times.  Along the way they have produced crayon products since the 1930s.  However, with my lack of Polish skills, I only know of one crayon product from the 1930s that has surfaced.  I am sure there are more but time will tell if I can locate any.

 

Known Crayon Boxes

                                                                                                                                                                                          

New

Product Name

ID

Box

Colors

Crayons

Box Color

Design

Variation

Years

Rarity

Value

Picture

 

Jagusia

ISK0001

LID

8

8

Black,Red

Scene

Girl painting rolling hills

1930s

9

$30

Yes

 

Kazik

ISK0002

HBT

8

8

Yellow

Scene

Boy painting house with water wheel

1930s

9

$30

Yes

 

Photos

 

 

 

ISK0001

ISK0002