The Czasopismo Techniczne ("Technical Journal"), 1877-1914

ID: 132

This was the printed organ of the Polytechnic Society. It was aimed at consolidating and promoting the newly created technical milieu in Galicia, which was formed due to Lviv Polytechnic. The periodical was published from 1877 until the beginning of the Second World War. Its first name, until the end of 1882, was the Dźwignia (pol. for lever).


The introduction of freedom of the press and assembly in the Austrian Empire in the revolutionary year of 1848 had immediate and irreversible consequences for the creation of civil society and the public sphere. As early as the spring of that year, the first non-governmental newspaper appeared in Lviv. Quite soon other literary, scientific, and specialized periodicals joined purely political ones. Their diversity reflected the emergence of new urban milieus, united by common ideas, approaches, and aspirations. In 1867-1914, the number of scientific periodicals published in Lviv was 34, while in Galicia in general their number grew up to 74 (Myśliński, 1969, 482).

When the first solemn inauguration of the rector of Lviv Polytechnic — despite significant reforms, it was still called the Technical Academy at that time — took place in 1872, the need for such an institution for Galicia was not yet clear. Engineers, or technicians, as they were then commonly called, can generally be described as a social group leading the process of industrialization due to their special knowledge. At that time, Galicia could boast that a railway network was actively built in its territory. However, it remained primarily an agricultural region, with virtually no industry. Therefore, the newly appointed rector, physicist Feliks Strzelecki, dedicated a significant part of his speech to explaining why technicians were needed at all, as well as to the decision to establish scientific/educational institutions first, and then factories (Strzelecki, 1872).


Scientific specialization as a prerequisite for the emergence of the journal

By 1877, when the Dźwignia appeared, the scientific journal Kosmos had been published in Lviv for a year. It was published by the Polish Copernicus Society of Naturalists, founded in December 1874. This magazine was named after the periodical of the same name, which was published by Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) in Berlin. Both the Lviv and Berlin Kosmoses aimed to comprehensively describe nature; at that time, Humboldt became the personification of a scientist of the old era. He combined a variety of knowledge, which was not outlined by clear boundaries between different disciplines. Contemporary scientists on the other hand were specialists in much narrower fields.

The Dźwignia published articles and reports on various natural sciences, as well as news from the world of science. It also featured professors of Lviv Polytechnic, who had obtained scientific degrees (or education in general) at universities, such as chemist August Freund, mechanical engineer Roman Gostkowski or mineralogist Julian Niedzwiedzki and others.

Despite the fact that the Kosmos had also to do with technicians and was an interesting and necessary publication for their milieu, it was important for them to be separated from the environment of pure scientists. First of all, it was explained through the argument of scientific specialization. The Dźwignia argued that nothing prevented physicians from being members of both the diverse Copernicus Society and the specialized Medical Society at the same time. Thus, in their opinion, a separate journal for technology had a full right to exist (Dźwignia, 1877, Nr. 1, p. 2).


The social, not just scientific nature of the journal

However, the main distinction between them was in issues of a social nature.

In general, technology was not seen as a scientific activity; rather, it was considered a kind of experimental activity, which allegedly did not provide for the presence of theoretical, truly "intellectual" work in it. Technicians, on the other hand, sought to prove the opposite and, at the same time, to gain the support of both local and imperial authorities. They demanded the introduction of professional and scientific titles in the legislation and, accordingly, the standardization of examinations; the possibility to head departments in the civil service along with professional lawyers; greater political representation since the recognition of polytechnic education as higher one meant that its graduates could vote on the basis of "personal qualifications" and be elected within the first curia. This discussion took place in the pages of the journal and was debated at congresses of technicians and expressed in petitions to the regional and general imperial authorities (see the Fifth Congress of Polish Technicians).

At the General Assembly in January 1879, engineer Paweł Stwiertnia, one of the Society's main "speakers" in the early years, commented on the stability and success of the periodical. According to him "as long as it [Dźwignia] is published, we will live," and that "at least once a month it reminds the general public that Polish technicians are not in lethargy" (Dźwignia, 1879, Nr. 2, s. 10). The first attempt to outline the history of the magazine, however, was made by Professor Tadeusz Fiedler, a mechanical engineer. The text was prepared on the occasion of the celebration of the Polytechnic Society's 25th anniversary in 1902. The professor worked as the editor of the journal at the time. In his article, Fiedler emphasized the fact, which was not obvious to the contemporary public, namely that in the early period the technicians' situation had been hampered by a trivial lack of literary skills, which they could not acquire in school. The so-called real schools (ger. Realschulen), in contrast to gymnasiums, provided the necessary training for future technicians in mathematics and drawing, while gymnasiums had a more linguistic, literary orientation, much attention was paid to the study of the classics in the original Greek and Latin languages. However, as they wanted to gain some influence in society, "not only a compass but also a pen" was vital for them. Thus, thanks to the journal publication, they "have learned how to write and then how to speak" (Fiedler, 1902).

The journal can thus be compared with journals Der Bautechniker and the Civil-Techniker (Vienna), the Czasopismo techniczne (Krakow), the Przegląd techniczny (Warsaw) and others, which, in addition to specialized scientific discussions within certain disciplines, paid considerable attention to social issues. Members of the Polytechnic Society, regardless of their place of residence, received copies free of charge (their monetary contributions were used to finance the journal). Above all, it was important for technicians to preserve their professional identity, neither becoming a political party, nor expressing support for certain political forces. They often described themselves using the categories of "class" or "movement". At first, the technology was not unequivocally linked to ethnic, religious or other communities, but the situation changed in 1913, when the Polytechnic Society added "Polish" to its name. Throughout its existence, the journal was published in Polish. From its first issue, as well as, from time to time, in published texts, there were mentions of its Polish dedication, which, however, did not come to the fore. After all, until 1939 most students and professors at the Polytechnic were ethnic Poles, and the institution, reformed during the autonomy of Galicia and switched to the Polish language of instruction in 1871, became a magnet for Polish-speaking applicants from various regions, including from beyond Austria-Hungary.


Nature of publications and editorial board

A significant part of the journal consisted of reports from all meetings of the Polytechnic Society (weekly meetings, meetings of the Society management, annual general meetings). Sometimes they were short and contained only a scientific report title or organizational issues that were the main ones at the meeting and a list of names of participants in the discussion. Sometimes they were supplemented by a short summary of the discussion and the participants' opinions. Some of the texts were printed in full or in selected passages. Technicians also prepared articles on inventions or scientific discoveries and shared their own developments, often adding calculations, diagrams, and drawings. They also wrote about experiences from their work or research trips, for example to certain factories, exhibitions, etc., and discussed what technical solutions could be suitable for use in Lviv, for example, for the canalization of the Poltva, etc.

The journal published "personal information", information about competitions, vacancies that were related to the technical field. For some time it contained a review of the technical literature, including magazines, textbooks, books published in various European languages. This section was short but expensive, as to prepare it it was necessary to subscribe to many publications, so it was abandoned. Meteorological observations from the Lviv Polytechnic observatory were also published. Mostly local manufacturers and designers were advertised in the journal.

At first the journal was published once a month, from 1888 it became a biweekly (5th and 25th of each month). From 1912, it began to be published three times a month (5th, 15th and 25th of each month), one issue per quarter being dedicated to purely architectural themes.

The topics of the articles reflected the diversity of the Polytechnic Society members' specializations and depended on the editorial board, whose composition changed, sometimes every year. For example, in 1877 it consisted of engineers Karol Setti and Paweł Stwiertnia, architect Julian Zachariewicz and mathematician Władysław Zajączkowski; for four years, the editor-in-chief was Ludwik Radwański. Later, the editorial board was headed by Karol Skibiński, Maksymilian Thullie, Placyd Dziwiński, Stanisław Świeżawski, Viktor Syniewski, and Stanisław Anczyc. Significantly, the editors, as well as the editorial board members, were almost exclusively professors of the Polytechnic, researchers and educators.

In the period from 1883 to 1889, changing its name to the Czasopismo techniczne, the journal was published by the joint efforts of the Lviv Polytechnic Society and the Krakow Technical Society. Engineers predominated in Lviv, while there were many architects in Krakow, the fact increasing publications on architectural and artistic topics during this period. Due to a misunderstanding, the societies stopped cooperating on January 1, 1890.

The journal's specialization was discussed at the Third Congress of Polish Technicians held in Lviv in 1894 as part of the General Provincial Exhibition. In particular, an idea was voiced that the Lviv journal would focus on engineering, while the architectural theme would be taken over by the Krakow one and the issues of industry, mechanical engineering and chemistry would be published by the Przegląd techniczny (Warsaw). The idea was not implemented, because it would be too expensive to provide a free copy of all three periodicals for each member of the three societies each time.

Initially, the journal publication was entirely voluntary. In 1879 it was customary to pay for the editor's work (25 Rhenish guldens per month), and in 1881, to pay royalties for articles (depending on the volume); both amounts increased slightly in 1895. The main source of funding was the Society members' contributions, later the publication was supported by provincial subventions.

The journal's editorial office was first housed in premises rented separately from the Polytechnic Society, at ul. Jagiellońska 24 (now vul. Hnatiuka), and at ul. Krasickich 8 (now vul. Ohiyenka). Later, in 1879-1884, it was, together with the Society, located at ul. Wałowa 4; in 1885-1889, at ul. Linde 9 (now vul. Ferentsa Lista); in 1889-1898, at pl. Rynok 30, and from that time until the construction of the Society’s own building (vul. Dudayeva 9), at ul. Chorąszczyzna 17 (now vul. Chaykovskoho). The journal was first printed at Piller's printing house and later in the 1st Union Printing House (I drukarnia Związkowa) at ul. Linde 4 (now vul. Ferentsa Lista).

During the Russian occupation of Galicia in 1914-1915, the work on the publications continued, but these issues were published later in 1915, and publications during the war had less volume and frequency. After the First World War, the journal continued to be published in Lviv until 1939. Since 1946, the journal of the same name has been published on the basis of the Krakow Polytechnic (founded in 1945), since 2013 also in English.

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The Polytechnic Society's own building, the editorial office was located here as well.

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Vul. Valova, 04 – residential building

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Pl. Rynok, 30 – former Reguliovska/ Regułowska townhouse

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Vul. Akad. Hnatiuka, 24 – residential building

The editorial office of the Dźwignia was initially located here in 1877.


Vul. Ohiyenka, 8 – residential building

Editorial office of the Dźwignia was located here in 1878.


Vul. Lista, 9 – residential building


Vul. Chaikovskoho, 17 – former "Oil Building"


Stanisław Anczyc (1868–1927) — an engineer, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic, one of the journal's editors
Placyd Dziwiński (1851–1936) — a mathematician, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic, one of the journal's editors
Tadeusz Fiedler (1858–1933) — a mechanical engineer, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic, editor of the Czasopismo techniczne in 1901-1902
August Freund (1835–1892) — a chemist, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic
Roman Gostkowski (1837–1912) — a mechanical engineer, a professor of railway-related disciplines at Lviv Polytechnic, long-term head of the Polytechnic Society
Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859) — a German scientist, a universal personality
Julian Niedzwiedzki (1845–1918) — a mineralogist, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic
Ludwik Radwański (1846–1901) — an engineer and one of the journal's editors.
Karol Setti di Forli (1824–1913) — an engineer and an architect in the technical department of the governor's office in Lviv, a member of the journal’s editorial board, one of the construction managers of the Lviv Polytechnic main building
Karol Skibiński (1849–1922) — an engineer, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic, one of the journal's editors
Feliks Strzelecki (1823–1883) — a physicist, head of the Technical Society in the 1860s, a professor and the first elected rector of Lviv Polytechnic
Paweł Stwiertnia (1854–1923) — an engineer
Wiktor Syniewski (1865–1927) — an engineer, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic, one of the journal's editors
Stanisław Świeżawski — one of the jounal’s editors
Maksymilian Thullie (1853–1939) — an engineer, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic, one of the journal's editors
Julian Zachariewicz (1837–1898) — an architect, a professor and rector of Lviv Polytechnic
Władysław Zajączkowski (1837–1898) — a mathematician, a professor of Lviv Polytechnic, author of the first history of the institution



  1. Czasopismo techniczne, 1883–1918
  2. "Sprawozdania z walnego zgromadzenia. Paweł Stwiertnia 'Przemysł i praca narod wzbogaca'", Dźwignia, 1877, Nr. 1, 1-2
  3. Dźwignia, 1877–1882
  4. Kosmos, 1876
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  8. Feliks Strzelecki, Mowy na uroczystą inauguracyę wybranego na rok akademicki 1872/3 Rektora c.k. Akademii Technicznej, Dra Feliksa Strzeleckiego, profesora Fizyki, dnia 3. Grudnia 1872, (Lwów, 1872), 9
  9. Grażyna Wrona, "Lwowskie czasopisma naukowe w latach 1918-1939", 1999 
  10. Ігор Сьомочкін, "Питання архітектури у львівському часописі "Czasopismo Techniczne" (1877–1939 рр.)", Вісник інституту "Укрзахідпроектреставрація", 1996, №5, с. 83–91.
By Olha Zarechnyuk, 2020
Translated by Andriy Masliukh