THE REGION of Štiavnické vrchy, the Štiavnica Hills, is among the most renowned mining areas in Europe, with underground mines existing for perhaps a thousand years. The last boom in the area, though short-lived, occurred at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
In 1894, a businessman by the name of Berks started a silver processing facility in Dolné Hámre but the complex was named after Ján Sandrik, who owned the land. The Sandrik works had a slow start because silver products were not affordable to many Slovaks. But a fortuitous break came after a young graphic designer, Jan Peterka, arrived from Bohemia and won gold medals for his designs at the World Expo in Paris in 1899 and at the Millennium Exposition in Pest in 1900. Peterka was then given authority to manage the whole facility even though he was only 29 years old, and he subsequently developed a successful, modern silver processing operation.
Several other interesting facts are connected with the Sandrik works. As early as 1897 the company started a vocational school and the company also built dormitories for its employees to resolve the issue of long, daily commutes.
In 1904, it even opened a cinema for employees, only the third cinema in Slovakia. Additionally, the Sandrik works had its own brass band and football club.
The Sandrik works was exceptional in its policies toward employees compared to other companies operating at that time in Slovakia.
This postcard shows the Sandrik complex in the 1920s.
7. May 2012 at 0:00 | Branislav Chovan