DIY tractor culture in Poland

We Make Money Not Art has a post up about DIY tractors in rural Poland, photographed by Łukasz SkÄ…pski. Żak Gallery in Berlin is currently showing prints of SkÄ…pski's photos, and there's video of interviews with the farmer-tinkerers circulating somewhere, too. Snip:

In the '60s Poland it was almost impossible to acquire a tractor in Poland. Agricultural machines produced by the country were available mainly for state-owned enterprises. For private farmers these tractors were too expensive and they weren't even robust or efficient enough for the mountain region. Out of necessity they constructed their own machines using spare parts and bits and pieces from whatever machines they could find. Including decommissioned army vehicles and pre-WWI German machines.


  1. I’ve seen worse around the countryside here- a wooden horse-cart drawn by what looked like a naked lawnmower engine, with two inebriated farmers at the oversized wheel. I wish I had taken my camera out fast enough.

  2. Just want to add that this “DIY tractor culture” is spread all over the communist block, you can find them in Russia, Czechia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, just anywhere.

  3. This is a great example of “combinowac” (kombi-no-vatch), which is a Polish word without a direct English equivalent. Combinowac means to “work the system”. It can sometimes be negative (politics, public safety, etc.), but often is used to describe the action of solving a problem even when your told it’s impossible.

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