The Innovator who competed with Siemens


Kamionek (Praga South) is known as ‘Praga’s Silicon Valley.’  There were many factories and industrial estates here, on which almost everything was focused. 

Many people tempted by the perspective of finding work abandoned their life up to that point and moved to this part of the city.  During a time when industry in other districts began to slowly fade, it prospered in Kamionek, and many pioneering goods were created in its factories and manufactories.

One such pioneer was Kazimierz Tadeusz Szpotański, an electrical engineer and a social worker.  He studied electrotechnical in Mittweid in Germany at the Higher Technical School, and then studied at the Polytechnic in Berlin-Chadlottenburg.  After having finished his course, he worked in Germany, Russia and the Ukraine.  He returned to Warsaw at the age of 31.

In 1918 he founded the Factory of Electrical Goods, (FAE) which was at first housed by a private two bedroom flat at no. 9 Mirowska Street, which no longer exists, in Śródmieście.  ‘Factory’ is perhaps too great a term, since it was initially a manufactory which employed two people.  In 1920 Szpotański bought a roughly finished building at Kałyszyńska Street 4 in Kamionek.  Despite difficulties, he progressively expanded his factory, making it the biggest electrical goods company in interwar Poland.  Szpotański based his business on electrical meters, which were at the time one of the most precise electrical instruments.  Despite having strong competition from international firms, including Siemens, which had more than a dozen years’ experience producing meters, he successfully introduced his products to the market.

Kazimierz Szpotański focused engineers with an excellent pedigree around him.  He took care to ensure a congenial atmosphere in the factory, and his workers, of whom he had 1600 by the late 1930s, could enjoy the libraries, reading rooms, crèches, the sport club ‘Fala,’ the canteen, the doctor’s surgery, the shop and, from the 1940s, the allotments.  Some of the workers in FAE lectured at the Warsaw, Gdańsk and Wrocław Polytechnics after the war.

The flagship products of the factory were electrical meters; apart from them, electrical transformers and X-Ray machines were also produced here.

During the Second World War the FAE continued to function, whereas Szpotański himself helped not only his employees but also residents in the area.  He saved the youth from being sent off to forced labour in Germany by organising a huge training event with around 3000 participants.  He hid persecuted people and their families on the grounds of the factory.  He employed family members of people who were deported to concentration camps and forced labour, and also organised food parcels for his employees. 

The Factory of Electrical Goods building, listed as a historical building, currently holds the SWPS University. 


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
Share on whatsapp


ul. Kałuszyńska 4 (Chodakowska 19/31)