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    It has been 135 years since Jan Józef Baranowski died

    March 30 marks 135 years since the death of the Polish scientist and inventor working in exile, Jan Józef Baranowski. He worked in the fields of accounting and communications, e.g. the election machine and the ticketing machine. Some of his inventions, such as the gas meter, are still used today.


    Jan Józef Baranowski was a multi-talented and accomplished figure in the history of Poland. He was one of the noblemen who took part in the Great Emigration.

    The Great Emigration was the emigration of thousands of Poles and Lithuanians, particularly from the political and cultural élites, from 1831 to 1870, after the failure of the November Uprising of 1830–1831 and of other uprisings such as the Kraków uprising of 1846 and the January Uprising of 1863–1864. The emigration affected almost the entirety of political elite in Congress Poland. The exiles included artists, soldiers and officers of the uprising, members of the Sejm of Congress Poland of 1830–1831 and several prisoners-of-war who escaped from captivity.

    He was interested in everything related to technology. He assumed that no device is so perfect that it cannot be improved. In addition, he claimed that every invention is worth the effort if it makes the work of man even a little easier.

    His most important inventions were:

    1. Machine for obtaining the products of numbers without multiplying (Brevet №4587 from 1846 for Machine propre à obtenir les produits des nombres sans faire la multiplication).
    2. Calculating watch operating the four rules of arithmetic (Brevet №2663 from 1847 for Montre à calcul opérant les quatre règles de l’arithmétique).
    3. Tax-machine from 1848 (taxe-machine pour obtenir les résultats des calculs les plus compliqués même ceux des changes et arbitrages de banque, avec un contrôle instantané).
    4. Machine for calculation of the votes in the elections from 1848.
    5. Cylinder for wages and freight.

    At the Universal Exhibition in London, he received a prize medal and diploma for a small machine that printed and stamped railway, theatrical, and other tickets in many colors. He was also the inventor of a manual ticket validator, similar to those that could be found on buses and trams 30 years ago.

    During 17 years spent in France, Baranowski patented 17 different inventions. He gained great recognition on the Seine, he also enjoyed recognition throughout Europe. In 1872, disappointed with France, Baranowski moved to London, where he focused on his work on languages. He was also a polyglot, fluent in French, German, Russian, and English. In 1884, he published one of the first Polish-English dictionaries and developed an innovative textbook for English learners of the Polish language.

    Jan Józef Baranowski died on March 30, 1888 in London. (PAP)

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