An outline of the history of Carton Factory in Kolonowskie

A hundred years ago, count Christian Ernst Stolberg-Wernigerode – the owner of the estate in the Strzelce County in Opole land, made a decision to build a carton factory in Kolonowskie. The direct reason for foundation of the plant was a periodical excess of wood. In winter 1903, due to heavy wet snowfalls, in forests belonging to the count Stolberg, trees were damaged seriously. As a result of a large amount of wood, a decision was made to start the carton production.

Plant staff

A hundred years ago  in 1907 – the building of the plant was substantially advanced and in 1908 production was started. The production route, consisting of 33 steamers, 3 grinders, 2 drainers with round sieves, 3 Hollander beaters and machines for production of carton, was delivered by J.M. Voith company from Heidenheim. Production capacities of the plant were estimated at about 20 tonnes of carton and carton board.

In 1930 the company was transformed into a limited liability company, which for a certain time was controlled by the count Stolberg-Wernigerode. During next years, the shares in the company became ownership of the bank from Amsterdam N. V. Internationale Inwestmentbank te Amsterdam. On 3 April 1937 the factory was leased from the Dutch bank by the owner of the land in Upper Bavaria –baron Trabart von und zum Tann along with a lawyer Richard Karl Wolff from Berlin. In 1943 the company in Kolonowskie was bought by a rich company specializing in manufacturing products of carton board and paper - Berlin- Neuroder Kunstanstalten A.G.


The interwar period in the company history was the time of its operation without substantial investments. The aim of any modernization was to maintain production capacity obtained earlier. During the Second World War in the factory prisoners of war were taken advantage of, trying to improve production profitability this way.

At the end of the war, in the company there was a fire which partly damaged production devices used there.

When the war was over, Soviet military officials not earlier than in November 1945 handed the enterprise over to Polish administration since earlier in the enterprise premises there had been repairs of military equipment. When the company was taken over by Polish authorities, it was nationalized as estate belonging earlier to a German company – with no right of compensation.

Carton board factory

In 1945 all factories in the paper industry became subordinate to several regional unions. The factory in Kolonowskie was included in Południowe Zjednoczenie Przemysłu Celulozowo-Papiernicze (South Union of Cellulose and Paper Industry). In 1947 the unions were dissolved by creating state enterprises in their places. The factory in Kolonowskie was then subordinate to the enterprise in Krapkowice.

After performing repairs of the machines, the production was started in August 1946 and until the end of the year 1.7 thousand tonnes of carton was produced. As of the 1950s the factory produced 6-7 thousand tonnes of brown carton a year.

For plenty years the factory was operated without any substantial investments. Not until the first half of the 1970s modernization of the machine park was performed. Production of mechanical pulp was discontinued, shifting the machine to using the waste paper. At the same time production capacities of the factory were doubled. The record result was reached by the company in 1978 when 13.6 tonnes of carton board was produced.

In the following years inconsiderable investment was performed in the company: in the 1980s a winder for corrugator was installed, enabling introduction of producing the rolled carton board.

At first, carton board from Kolonowskie was used for production of collective packagings and in bookbinding. In 1983 in Kolonowskie production of waste-paper carton board designed for making tar paper, was started. The new product was not of the highest quality (it had lower mechanical parameters than traditional carton board produced with the feedstock of rag fibers) however due to lack of proper carton board for tar paper, there was substantial demand for carton board from Kolonowskie. The first consignment of the tar paper made of the waste-paper carton board – as scarce product – was sold for splitters.

Since 1988 carton-board tubes were produced in the factory. For this purpose a machine of efficiency of 2.5 thousand mb per 8 h was delivered from Malczyce and used in the factory.

Social and economic changes introduced as of 1989 complicated the situation of the factory in Kolonowskie. Decrease in demand on carton board so far accepted in each quantity became the main cause of serious problems. At the same time the employment decreased, in the half of the 1970s about 200 people worked in the factory, in 1988 139 people and in 1991 only 103 people. The factory could not count on the help from its owner – Zakłady Papiernicze (Paper Mill) in Krapkowice, which also dealt with serious problems.

In regard to decrease in demand on paper and carton board persisting in Poland in 1989-1992, sustainable solution of problems of the company was sought in introduction of processing in Kolonowskie and offering not carton board but products made of it. On 1 August 1990 the company management constituted a new structure under the name Zakład Produkcji Tektury (Carton Board Production Company) in Kolonowskie – Agency which leased the productive assets from Zakłady Papiernicze (Paper Mill) in Krapkowice. The form of the agency did not allow for any investment. Therefore, at the end of 1990s Spółka Cywilna Przedsiębiorstwo Wielobranżowe POLKAR (Multi-Business Company POLKAR Partnership) was founded which in 1991 leased the factory. The aim of the company was creation of possibilities of investment in the development of processing the carton board.

Within a short time, a new machine for production of tubes and devices for production of boxes designed for packing memory lights were purchased. People employed earlier at the production of carton board were shifted to the service of new devices.

The most successful solution was processing of carton board into edgeboards – the product not produced earlier in Poland. In 1991 a company under the name Packprofil limited liability company J.V. with a Finnish share holder – company OY Eltete Ab was founded which introduced technology into edgeboard production and sold proper machines.

The carton board factory as the main employer in Kolonowskie for 100 years bound almost the whole town and neighbouring countryside, ensuring support to a plethora of families. It often happened that after parents, their children and over time their grandchildren, took over the work in the factory.

Dr Maciej Szymczyk
Director of Museum of Papermaking
in Duszniki Zdrój
(literature and sources can be found at the author)