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Stanisław Jabłonowski


A living embodiment of Patriotism and an industrial soul

 

Portrait of Stanisław Jabłonowski

 

Stanisław Jabłonowski was a nobleman in the so-called Congress Kingdom of Poland (1815-1832), an insurgent during the uprising of 1830 and most importantly a petroleum industry developer that brought a truly revolutionary invention to life. He was the first ever entrepreneur to locate and exploit an oil source in the village called Siary in the south of Poland.

 

He was born in 1799 in Annopol in Wołyn in the noble family that included such individuals as Hetman (supreme commander) Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski that fought Turkey alongside Jan III Sobieski and Paweł Jan Sapieha, another great Polish hetman. In addition to that, his father, Stanisław Paweł Jabłonowski was a Polish aristocrat and politician. A big part of Stanisław’s childhood was spent abroad, as he lived and was educated in France and Switzerland. In 1815, when he came back to Poland, he could barely speak Polish .

 

In 1814 at a party organised by his mother, he met his first valuable acquaintance- Tsar Alexander I. Two years after that meeting he passed an army exam and was allocated to a horse artillery unit. During the two years of his military career, Jablonowski was promoted to Second Lieutenant. However, he resigned after a dispute with the High Commander, Great Prince Konstanty Pawłowicz.

 

Six years before the uprising of 1830 had begun, Stanisław married Maria Wielkopolska, with whom he led a happy life, however, despite their effort, they could not have any children. He took an active part in Polish military actions against the Russian Army, in the hope of regain Poland’s lost independence.

 

A painting of Wojciech Kossak showing an artilery

under Jabłonowski's command during

the battle of Rogatki Jerozolimskie

Both the 1831 and 1846 insurrections had failed. In 1830 when Polish military effort to reclaim the annexed territory people were filled with patriotic courage and many had enlisted. Nevertheless bravery and unity were not enough to defeat much stronger and better equipped Russian Army. Poles tried to rebel again later in Cracow in 1846. This time the failure was even worse since the insurgents were just mostly average citizens and had no Army training or decent firearms, so they posed very little threat to a select Austrian Army . After that,Jabłonowski returned to Kobylanka where he became an industrialist and established a modern asphalt factory.

 

His greatest achievement came into being in 1852 when he constructed the first oil well in the world in Siary. In doing that he revolutionized the budding industry and made a big step forward towards today’s major industry in the world. As other accounts attest, he succeeded in refining the crude oil, obtaining a clear substance that burned and produced strong light. His invention was already spotted in 1853 by a councilor of the Cracovian trade house, Antoni Schwarz. He discovered that crude oil could be used to light oil lamps, paving the way to eventual construction of modern kerosene lamp, by another Polish inventor, Ignacy Łukasiewicz in 1853. Łukasiewich can be described as the person to properly develop and exploit Jablonowski’s ideas and who helped him to make a great fortune.

 

After Stanisław expanded his business, he started to look for new places to mine: Męcina Wielka, Lipinki, Kobylanka and Magdalena. In 1860 he ended his research, sold all of his property and settled in Płazy. In 1875 he married the mother of his previous wife Maria Gonzaga-Myszkowska-Wielopolska. He died 3 years later in 1878, not leaving any descendants. The region he built his business in continued to prosper as one of the earliest petrol industry stations in the world. His ideas were, however, taken up by earlier mentioned Ignacy Łukasiewich, without whom all those inventions would most probably not work as effective as they did.

 

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