The Polanka Palace - the Crude Oil Industry

History of the oil industry in the Subcarpathia dates back to the mid-19th century. The world's first works involving searching for this precious raw material, i.e. crude oil, started here on a large scale. For centuries, in the forests and fields of the Subcarpathia, strange spills of the substance characterised with odour and dark colour appeared. The local residents used willow twigs to collect the black slurry, which was used by then as a medicament for animals. Furthermore, it was used to preserve wood and iron, to lubricate the axles of vehicles and to light flares or oil lamps. It was not until the 19th century when development of science and technology allowed to exploit crude oil on the industrial scale. It happened due to the activities of the open-minded persons, such as Ignacy Łukasiewicz, Karol Klobassa-Zrenicki and his sons as well as Tytus Trzecieski.

Tytus Trzecieski was a philosopher and educated farmer and chemist as well as the owner of the land property in Polanka, near Krosno. However, unlike most local residents, he used crude oil collected in the Bobrzecki forest, not only to treat his sheep. He regarded the black slurry to have tremendous potential. In 1854, Tytus Trzecieski took crude oil samples to Lviv, hoping that in the strong scientific and academic centre, he would find a way of knowing crude oil full chemical and physical properties and its possible use in the industry. Being in Lviv, by chance he heard about Ignacy Łukasiewicz, a Galician scientist and pharmacist. The historical meeting of both men took place in Gorlice, where Łukasiewicz worked. Ignacy perfectly knew the value of the raw material, i.e. crude oil (in 1853, he obtained a patent for distillation of crude oil) so, when Tytus showed him samples of the black substance, he said the prophetic words:

The Palace in Polanka - the Łukasiewicz lamp
The design of the first oil lamp made by Łukasiewicz.

You have brought millions with you. This liquid is the future wealth of this country, it is prosperity and well-being for its inhabitants, and it is a new source of income for poor people and a new branch of industry, which will be fruitful.

Ignacy, convinced by Tytus Łukasiewicz, started works to search for the prospecting liquid in the Bobrzeckie forests. They both went to Karol Klobassa-Zrencki, the owner of the areas holding crude oil, with the proposal for joint organisation of such works. Klobassa did not show much interest in the venture, because he did not believe in its effectiveness. However, he expressed his content to carry out the mining activities on his property, for a period of 4 years. Trzecieski provided the necessary capital, while Łukasiewicz took over management and supervision of mining works and processing of crude oil.

In 1854, the world's first crude oil mine, as well as the first company to exploit crude oil at dawn were established!

The Polanka Palace - The Crude Oil Industry, The Crude Oil Mine in Potok
The Polanka Palace - The Crude Oil Industry, The Crude Oil Mine in Krosno
The Polanka Palace - The Crude Oil Industry, The Crude Oil Mine in Weglowka
The postcards show the crude oil fields in the vicinity of Krosno.

Its beginning was very difficult. The mining works involved digging ditches and wells in order to increase efficiency of crude oil. Unfortunately, it did not provided the expected results, mainly due to poor locations of the wells. The geological structure was unknown, and as a result the works were carried out mostly in areas of natural leaks. Crude oil in these places was degasified and dense, and the wells efficiency was poor. In the same time, the first distillery built by Łukasiewicz in 1856 in Ulaszowice, near Jasło, burnt. This event and the family troubles of Tytus led to temporary suspension of the common business. Trzecieski went abroad, while Łukasiewicz moved back to Gorlice and Jasło. Jan Horytiak, Klobassa's forester, was ordered to supervise the works. Trzecieski returned from abroad soon, and shortly thereafter, very rich source of kerosene appeared in Bóbrka, in new Wojciech well. This discovery encouraged sceptical Karol Klobassa to carry out further works, and already resigned Łukasiewicz to accept the proposal to stay in Trzecieski's Palace in Polanka. This resulted in establishment of a new company in 1861: Łukasiewicz-Klobassa-Trzecieski. Klobassa contributed the crude oil holding Bobrzecki forest, Trzecieski provided funds, and Łukasiewicz managed all mining works and distillation of crude oil. The profits were divided equally into three parts. Karol Klobassa, as the owner of forest lands, where the searching for works were carried out, turned to the Mining Society in Kraków and obtained the granting act required by the Common Mining Act of 1854 and was provided with the exclusive right to search for and extract of crude oil.

The oil company: "Trzecieski, Łukasiewicz and Klobassa" expanded over time and provided its shareholders with huge income. In the 60s of the 19th century it showed huge amount of 1.5 million guilders in the annual profit. Its importance can be emphasised by participation in the universal exhibition in Paris in 1867, where in the "Raw Products" section it presented inter alia crude rock oil and the products of distillation - cleaned kerosene, heavy oils and asphalt. Later cooperation of the "founding fathers" of the oil industry is already widely known. Extraction and processing of kerosene became the basis for increased prosperity of the entire Subcarpathia.

The company survived to 1871. Later, Karol Kobassa was the sole owner of the mine in Bóbrka. Łukasiewicz was the executive director until his death. When Klobassa had died, the mine was inherited by his sons. In 1895, the Bóbrka mine was owned by the Galician Carpathian Oil Joint-Stock Company. In 1920, it was the part of the "LESSER POLAND" Crude Oil Concern - the group of French Industrial and Commercial Companies in Poland (the management board of the company included, inter alia, the members of the Klobassa family), in which its remained until World War II. It is work noting that the directorate of the "LESSER POLAND" Concern was in the mansion in Polanka.