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Tracing the monuments of technology from Podhale to Liptov

Next to the smells of warm bread and freshly cut grass, it is the smell of a new book that is most often mentioned as the one we have the most pleasant associations with. Many people admit that the first thing they do with a new book is to sniff it because the smell of a new book is unique and carries the best emotions, expectations of something new and extraordinary. However, taking such a promise in hand, hardly anyone wonders how it was made. Now, in the era of digitisation, typesetting and printing are much easier, but once it was the hard work of many people.

These days, when we feel like reading a book, we either go into a bookshop and buy it or borrow it from the library. No problem at all. However, before printing was invented, books were a commodity which was luxurious and hardly accessible. What is more, handwritten texts had many different versions, also because of the unintentional mistakes of scribes. Even in the 1950s, printing books was very laborious and the time-consuming work of many people. And here we come to the real reason why we started talking about books. There is a gem on a global scale in Nowy Targ – an Austrian printing machine, which was built between 1836 and 1840. It is one of only THREE known and preserved items produced in the Friedrich Helbig and Leo Muller factory in Vienna. Furthermore, the one in Nowy Targ is still in working order, against all odds and its turbulent history. It was moved several times, dismantled, and by no means by professionals, and reassembled. Now she has found a decent home – the Museum of Printing in Nowy Targ.

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It took as many as three people to operate this machine: a printer who was responsible for the whole thing – from the manual typesetting of the fonts to the supervision and control of the prints; an assistant, who had to be a very strong man, because it was his muscles that gave the flywheel the proper rotation and, finally, a feeder who had to put a sheet of paper in the cylinder grippers at the right time. You can read about the history of this unusual machine, as well as the role of the printing house in which it functioned for years for the entire Podhale region, here:

Eryk Mirosław Woźniak: Unikalna maszyna drukująca. Prasa pospieszna Helbig & Müller in Wien)

Rola Drukarni Ignacego Borka w Nowym Targu w życiu społeczno-kulturalnym Podhala na początku XX wieku

 

The printing works of Ignacy Borek in Nowy Targ issued information most important for the life of the whole region – from big papers like Gazeta Podhalańska, to small notices.

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The printing works of Ignacy Borek in Nowy Targ issued information most important for the life of the whole region – from big papers like Gazeta Podhalańska, to small notices.

i_5347348_www.ludrova.sk  fot. arch beneficjenta  źródło: www.ludrova.sk

The municipalities went even further and created the whole cultural trail “Tracing the monuments of technology from Podhale to Liptov”. And there, in Nowy Targ, apart from the Museum of Printing with its unique machine, there is also a renovated water tower at the railroad station. Thanks to the project it got a second life. It no longer serves to supply steam locomotives with water, although you can still see the basic element of its equipment, a steel riveted water tank with a capacity of 50 cubic meters. It has become a place of a kind of journey into the past, because the exposition arranged in it shows the history of the former railroad line from Nowy Targ to Sucha Hora – the same line which we can now follow riding along the Route Around the Tatras. You can read about the history of the former railroad line here (HISTORIA LINII KOLEJOWEJ NOWY TARG – SUCHA GÓRA – KRÓLEWIANY).

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On the Slovak side, there is a railroad accent too. The narrow-gauge route of the Powaska Forest Railway has been reconstructed. It was used to transport wood and people, now it takes tourists on a charming trip through the forest. The 950 m long railroad route with a reconstructed steel bridge was rebuilt on the premises of the Museum of the Liptov Village in Prybylina, which includes surviving rail cars.

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The whole trail, its curiosities and history are described in the book “Tracing the monuments of technology from Podhale to Liptov" that will help to better understand the history and significance of technological progress for the region’s inhabitants.

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Blog prepared in the project entitled: "Cooperation that enhances and develops as a key to a positive image of Poland on the international arena", co-financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as part of the competition "Public Diplomacy 2020 - a new dimension".

Project co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development
Fund under the Republic of Poland - Slovak Republic Cross-border Co-operation Operational
Programme 2007-2013 and from the funds of the Malopolskie Voivodship