Łódzka Organizacja Turystyczna

The Grohman's Barrels

This is one of the most recognisable symbols of factory life in Lodz. The 'barrels' are an integral part of the gate leading to the former Grohman factory - one of the most famous families of factory owners in Lodz. They are actually columns shaped like barrels or spools of thread. Now comes a bit of facts and figures, so if you're not a big fan of historical enquiry, you can skip straight to the last paragraph.

The Grohmans came from the village of Sebnitz near Dresden. They were a family of weavers. Two Grohmans, Traugott and Karol, came to the Kingdom of Poland. They opened a leather factory in Warsaw. They then moved to Zgierz and opened a cotton goods factory in 1827. But the brothers' paths diverged and Traugott moved to Lodz in 1843. The unusual gate to the factory was built in 1896. It was designed by Franciszek Chelminski, the city architect of the time. The gate resembles the entrance to a medieval castle. The arch is supported by two columns (barrels) and crowned by a notched pediment. Until the 1950s there was a wrought-iron sculpture of an eagle with outstretched wings at the top of the porch, but today there is no trace of it. The Grohman family led Lodz's fire brigade, so after the gate was built, rumours circulated in the city that these columns were actually water barrels or, according to another urban legend, a smart hiding place for valuables.