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Strongbox

A safe for storing the salt company’s accounting documents is the heaviest and largest exhibit at the Wieliczka Salt Works Castle and one of its few original items that has been preserved to our times.

 

It was purchased by the Wieliczka Salt Mine Board in January of 1910 in Lviv. The well-known manufacturer put the labels with its name on the safe’s top and close to the internal fixing of the lock: “C. K. Uprzywilejowana pierwsza krajowa Fabryka Kas Ogniotrwałych W. Kosiba & W. Chudzikowski Lwów” (The First Imperial and Royal Authorised National Factory of Fireproof Strongboxes W. Kosiba & W. Chudzikowski, Lviv). The strongbox weighs ca. 1500 kg. It is in the shape of a large two-door wardrobe with an ornamented top. The interior of the safe is divided with three shelves, among which the most upper one is secured by an additional locked door. The internal door was painted in an artistic manner. It is ornamented with stripe compositions and garlands of hanging, delicate pink and violet flowers. Additionally, small Polish landscapes with willow trees are painted in two polygonal fields. The mighty safety fireproof door is reinforced by metal bars from the inside. The metal fixing of the lock also draws attention with the beautiful form of its Art Nouveau open-work styled plant motifs.

According to the customs of those times, the metal safes were made to look like typical wooden furniture. The external surface of the strongbox and its door are covered with the so-called faux painting technique (imitating wood and its rings). These impressive paintings were discovered as late as during the renovation in 2004, because for many years of its use (until the 1970s by the Wieliczka Salt Mine Accounting Office) they were covered by subsequent layers of oil paint. The renovation ordered by the Wieliczka Salt Works Museum managed to bring back the beauty of the drawing and ornaments, finally preventing the strongbox from being scrapped.

kasa pancerna

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