Polish "Nobel"

THE LEGACY OF WITOLD ZGLENICKI
 
By Marek Zawadzki of the Polish Science Foundation [Fundacja Nauki Polskiej]
 
Translated by Zbigniew W. Gamski with refinements by the Polonia Media Network.
 
“Who sees weeks forward, plants grass,
  Who sees years, plants trees,
  But who sees centuries ahead,
  Raises and educates children.”

 
 
The Nobel Foundation was established in 1900 with initial capital of 31 million Swedish Crowns. According to Sverige Bank in Sweden that time it was app. $8 million, an equivalent of $160 million in today’s value. Was there somebody else in the whole world who had done same thing? Or more? Yes, there was. His name was colonel eng. Witold Leon Julian Zglenicki.
 
He was born on January, 6, 1850, in the village of Wargawa Stara, in the district of Mazowsze, Poland. His family was a member of local nobility and his parents owned a small 170-hectare (420 acre) farm. Witold was baptized in the Catholic Church of Witonia on the July 21, 1850.
 
During the period from 1859–1866, he studied in the Provincial Gymnasium in Plock. From 1866–1870 he studied physics and math in the General School of Warsaw. From 1870–1875 he was a student at the Geophysical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia.
 
One of his professors, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendelejev, was the constructor of the Periodic Table of Atomic Weights for Chemical Elements. He recognized the talents of the young student, but Witold decided to choose another scientific career and dedicated himself to the new technology of digging for crude oil.
 
He graduated at the head of his class and, as an engineer and miner, was released from the mandatory military service of Russia. In 1875 at the age of 25, Witold was sent by the Ministry of Natural Resources to a mining plant in Eastern Poland.
 
During the years 1874-1876, Witold was a blast furnace supervisor in a steel plant in the town of Mroczkow. He also helped to modernize the steel industry and dedicated his time to geological research. In 1884 he was laid off from his job when he was falsely accused for misconduct. It took him six years to clear his name, after which he returned to government service.
 
In 1890 Witold was sent to work in the Treasury Department in Riga for two years. During that time he proved himself as a skilled administrator and received a proposition to become the head engineer of the Doniecki District Mining Enterprises. He refused that offer, which was not taken kindly by the Tsar’s administration. He instead, using the help and protection of Duke Beckendorff, found work in the Baku Mining and Geological Institute along the shores of the Black Sea. That same town eventually became a world leader in the crude oil industry.
 
In those days, Baku was a place where officials with disciplinary problems were sent. In some way it was similar to a Klondike town, full of crooks and thieves, as well as hard working and dedicated people. The world’s biggest refinery was under construction and in 1873 there were nine drilling pits. A few years later by 1879 the number of drilling pits had grown to 231, and in 1900 the number reached a staggering 1,710. In 1901 the Baku area alone was supplying almost 50% of the world’s crude oil. At that time several prominent people such as the Nobel brothers (Alfred, Ludwig and Robert) were beginning to spread their wings, as well as the Baron Alphonse Rothschild.
 
As the Head of the Institute, Witold Zglenicki proved himself to be a very competent, skilled and honest organizer. But his real passion was searching for new sources of oil, and he spent all his personal funds and time for that purpose. He developed, patented and gave to the oil industry an apparatus that allowed for vertical drilling. Drilling errors were common at that time, causing fires, explosions and damage to equipment, and causing human fatalities. His new methods and techniques helped to improve all types of drilling safety, including uses for drilling from underwater platforms.
 
He also, developed a machine for underwater drilling that makes him a world pioneer in the field. There would not be modern drilling platforms without the discoveries of Zglenicki.
 
He found underwater oil pools and predicted their values. All together he discovered 31 oil rich areas and numerous underwater oil pools. He found deposits of iron ore, pyrite, barite, cobalt, molybdenum, coal, manganese, copper, salt, gold, silver and arsenic.
 
His dedication, stubbornness in reaching his goals, his professionalism and the vital importance of his developments to the oil industry gave him not only the rank of Colonel, but were recognized by the Tsar’s Government. As a gesture of appreciation for his work, he was granted mining rights to oil pools in Baku and on the Caspian Sea. He bought more rights, using his own money.
 
But, destiny did not bless him; he was diagnosed with diabetes, impossible to cure in those days.
 
In his Last Will, he gave his wealth and all its income to science in Poland and to his new country, Russia, in appreciation for the education he had received in St. Petersburg.
 
According to his legacy, a Catholic Church and a free technical school for poor students was required to be built in every Guberniya [an administrative district of Russian-controlled Poland, sometimes called a province]. Also, help had to be provided to scientific communities with prizes issued for important discoveries and scientific work.
 
Mianowski's Monetary Fund in Warsaw was in charge of the distribution of his wealth. Any sale of his oil pools was prohibited; earned income must be given to science. Profits from one of them were given to the Imperial Russian Technical Society. And, he did not forget about the Polish Catholic Charity Society. He also gave funds to private persons, not forgetting his own servants, either.
 
Witold Leon Julian Zglenicki died July 6, 1904.
 
Just after his death his legacy was criticized by many who had trouble understanding the use of oil pools. There was enough of it on land, but exploring pits under water seemed a waste of time and money. The implementation of Zglenicki’s Last Will was under control of his close friend, an engineer and lawyer, who against its provisions, tried to sell some of the oil pools. The majority of them were leased to a Caspian-Black Sea Company owned by a family of bankers, the Rothschilds. According to the opinion of some members of Zglenicki’s family no more than 20% of earned money reached Mianowski’s Monetary Fund and the Foundation Account.
 
In the years 1908-1915 the Rothschilds paid to Mianowski’s Found $2.4 million, according to facts obtained from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis — $46 million at today’s value. They were, however, supposed to pay $12 million, which translates today to $220 million.
 
Nevertheless, the incoming sums were so large that the Foundation was not quickly able to spend them.
 
And, that was only beginning. Even $2.4 million gained a public attention and, because of the inability of Mianowski’s Fund to manage the income, under pressure of public opinion, a Russian Court decided to repeal previous contracts with the Rothschilds and exploration rights were proposed to be granted to the Rylski family, industrialists from the Caucasus of Polish origin. They offered a much better deal. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decided otherwise and rights were given back to the  Rothschilds. They did not long enjoy the fast-coming wealth due to World War I and October Revolution coming shortly thereafter.
 
The Bolsheviks had nationalized all privately owned properties. Zglenicki’s legacy was a part of the peace negotiations in Riga, Estonia, after the Polish–Soviet War in 1920.
 
The Soviet Union, hypocritically agreed to respect his will, if the Polish government would accept Soviet rights to all other possession of western capital in the former Russia.
 
The Poles flatly refused.
 
After World War II, the Zglenicki Family asked the newly formed government of the Polish Socialistic Republic (PKWN), to solve the Foundation’s problems, but without a shred of success.
 
The last Chief Executive Officer of the Mianowski Monetary Fund, Tytus Maksymilian Huber, Professor of Polytechnic School of Lwow, was forced to surrender all resources of Zglenicki’s Foundation to Polish Academy of Science.
 
Certainly, because the largest part of Zglenicki’s legacy money was never paid by the Rothschilds, Zglenicki’s Foundation was not as well funded as Nobel’s. However, his contribution to science was possibly greater because every penny from his oil fields was in accord with his Last Will – money for charitable purposes.
 
Never had Polish scholars received more funds since King Kazimierz the Great and Queen Jadwiga, the wife of King Wladyslaw Jagiello.
 
Presently, his possessions are a part of Azerbaijan Republic and it is possible to claim a return of them to their original owner — Zglenicki’s Foundation. The Foundation, after almost 50 years of non-existence, was reborn in the small town Rumia, northern Poland, a suburb of Gdynia, the largest port on the Baltic Sea. Two men brought that foundation back to life: Marek Zawadzki, President of the Zglenicki Foundation, and Franciszek Bach, whose donation helped to pay the registration fee and all attendant expenses.
 
None of them is paid for their efforts, but somehow those two, with limited hours of rest, after a whole day of hard work, managed to keep the Foundation running, collected money and equipment, and donated that to Schools. The main idea is simple and bright: Poland is a member of the European Union (EU) now, but to give Polish kids a chance to have in their schools the same equipment as their colleagues in France, Germany, and Britain, etc., they must beg and search for help wherever possible.
 
It’s necessary to pump a vast amount of money into the Polish education system.
 
It was Zglenicki concept. Unfortunately, his money never reached the Foundation, because it was taken away by the rich and powerful. It is easy to pray on the defenseless or poor.
 
We, the people of the Zglenicki Foundation, are making an appeal to everyone who is of Polish origin, who has Polish ancestors or who is simply close to our nation, and  the well-being of Polish children is important to them.
 
Supporters are working to spread the story of Zglenicki. Perhaps, if we all start speaking loudly in one voice, something can be done. The money is wanted because the needs are overwhelming. We are not begging for donations, but for support. The Foundation is a matter of fact and it will appreciate every bit of financial help it can get.
 
The renewed Legnicki Foundation is already working in Poland and the whole of Europe, searching for electronics that very often are discarded by many companies when upgrading their equipment. It is collecting some cash, too, although its supporters sincerely believe that education and the future of Polish children should not be built on charity. Sometimes, though, that is all that can be done.
Since established in 2003 the Eng. Zglenicki Foundation was able to donate electronic equipment for amount of app.  40,000 USD. But that is a drop in the Ocean of needs.
 
Prince Jan Zamoyski, the Crown Chancellor wrote: “Takie są losy Rzeczypospolitych jakie ich młodzieży chowanie” It can be translated as ““The destiny of the nation depends on how we raise our children.”
 
 
[Zglenicki’s biographical information is adapted from “Polski Nobel” by Professor Andrzej Chodubski.]
 
----------------------------------------------------------
 
According to experts, the Bolsheviks stole $3 billion worth of oil, which was money intended for Polish science.
 
 

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Witold Zglenicki

"Kto liczy na tygodnie, ten sieje trawę,  Kto liczy na lata, sadzi drzewa,  Ale kto liczy na stulecia, Ten wychowuje i kształci dzieci" .   W 2004 roku minęło 100 lat od śmierci filantropa, największego mecenasa nauki i nauki i oświaty w całej 1. 000 - letniej historii Narodu Polskiego, geologa, legendarnego nafciarza - inżyniera Witolda Zglenickiego. Witold Zglenicki urodził się 6 stycznia 1850 r. na Mazowszu, w rodzinie szlacheckiej. W latach 1859-66 uczył się w płockim Gimnazjum Gubernialnym, a w latach 1866-70 studiował na wydziale Matematyczno-Fizycznym Szkoły Głównej Warszawskiej. Od 1870 r. do 1875 r.
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