Szczepanik’s house on Sowińskiego street

At 11 Sowińskiego street, a tenement house build in 1907 according to plans of Mr. August Tarkowski is located, this was the first house owned by the family of Doctor Zygmunt Dzikowski, Jan Szczepanik’s father in law, after their move from Przemyśl to Tarnów. Not only did the owner approve of the architect’s plans but he also enriched them, the attic was embossed with a woman’s head, depicting the owner’s daughter and a later wife of the “Polish Edison” Wanda Szczepanik. Today, even with signs of damage, this tenement house captivates with a spear like tower, secession adornments, walls faced will glazed bricks and porch colonnade. It was in this house that Wanda and Jan Szczepanik faced sorrow after a tragic accident of their oldest son. During one of the visits at their friends house, their first, only several years old, son Andrzej was left in the care of a maid. While playing in the garden, he fell into a deep well and drowned before help arrived. This fact stopped inventor’s scientific endeavors for some time. Nevertheless, not only the architecture and tragic incidents from the inventor’s life should encourage visitors to remember this place. It was in the attic of this house, where Jan Szczepanik, in progress of unusually strenuous explorations and experiments, developed a method of “fading” which created a possibility of making photos and prints, not in black and white but in natural colors. Problem of color photography absorbed the inventor’s mind from 1902 almost until the beginning the 1st World War. He patented several inventions from the area of color photography. These patents dealt with improvements in this area, mainly with a way of copying color filmstrips and production of a special paper for color prints. Laboratory findings gave back effective results and Szczepanik was able to successfully demonstrate examples of his color photographs, to professionals. In order to finish his inventions, Szczepanik often visited German cites. Germany at that time had a very developed photography research program and the most developed chemical industry. Szczepanik had to confront his achievements mainly with those of German scientists. So he created a small laboratory in Dresden. Starting in 1907 he started to live his life in 3 cities, Tarnów, Vienna and Dresden. Up until the beginning of the war in 1914 and his move to Vienna, in order to escape fighting in the Tarnów region, Szczepanik began his work on adding color and sound to movies. He continued his experiments in this area while living in the capital of the Habsburg Monarchy as well as after his return to Tarnów, in his family’s new home on Szopena Street.