Szomański, Poland

The biggest and most important Polish manufacturer of wooden propellers was The Propeller And Wooden Products Factory owned by Włodzimierz Szomański. Factory was established in 1925 (according to „Album Dziesięciolecia Lotnictwa Polskiego” – “Tenth Anniversary of Polish Aviation Album” 1930). Was located at Kamedułów Street in Warsaw. Property area was 5873 m2 and usably floorage of premises was 1200 m2.

Initially the company produced propellers under French license. It was reflected in the factory name on company’s writing paper: “The Propeller And Wooden and Metal Products Factory W. Szomański i A. Matwiejew” Factory had a license for manufacture of propellers and was general representative of French company S. A. – Anciens Établissements Chauvière. At first the factory owners were Włodzimierz Szomański and Aleksander Matwiejew. Szomański (1884 – 1946) was cavalry captain who ended his military career in air force. Aleksander Matwiejew was Russian immigrant, enterprising engineer who had travelled whole Europe. His presence in company was quite short because he quit on 25th of July 1925. He was replaced as co-partner by Roman Szomański (1887 – 1951), brother of Włodzimierz. The factory initially manufactured propellers the were copies of foreign designs, that were used on imported aircraft. Later with development of domestic aviation industry it was necessary to design new propellers for new aircraft designs. Design of new propellers was done by scientist of Warsaw University of Technology, Jerzy Bukowski (1902 – 1982). His first design was propeller for PZL P.7 fighter with Bristol Jupiter engine. In 1930 factory was equipped with 30 machine tools including modern American propeller duplicator. From its beginnings till 1930 the factory produced about 3000 propellers. Additionally more than 100 test clubs were made and special large five blade propeller for Warsaw Aerodynamic Institute. Production capacities of factory allowed for about 1200 – 1500 propellers per year, but this level was never reached. In 1929 due the low orders the factory was in crisis. Employees were reduced to 32 persons and workshops worked only 3 days per week. Up to the first September 1939 most of wooden propellers on Polish military and civil aircraft had the IKAR logo of Szomański factory. Totally more than 10 000 propellers were produced.

On 6th September 1939 the factory was evacuated (without machines) in direction of Lublin. Part of vehicles fall in the hands of Soviet troops. During German occupation factory manufactured wooden products (doors, windows) and later also propellers as a part of auxiliary manufacturers for German Heine company. During Warsaw uprising factory was evacuated to Rausha in Germany (now Ruszów in western Poland). In January 1945 it was moved again, to Niemes (now Mimon, Czech Republic). After war employees of Szomański as organized group returned to Poland.