‘Nie Zamykać’: A Reminder Not to Close the Door Behind You

Around Kraków, near the handles of old doors you can find signs asking you to “nie zamykać” (don’t close) the door. The reason is that the door had a special door closer – a mechanical device that automatically closed the door in a controlled manner. As such door closers were a novelty at the beginning of the 20th century, people needed this reminder.

Most signs that I came across consisted of just the two words “nie zamykać,” but a couple are also accompanied by a manufacturer’s mark, advertising the company that produced the closer. The signs date from before WWI, some from the interwar period.

I have not come across such signs in Lviv; however, I did find quite a few examples in Vienna. Some of the signs even include an image of the door closer, as can be seen in the first two images below:

The signs in Vienna say in German “schliesst selbst,” which means “self-closing.” The third one also has the inscription “nicht zumachen,” meaning “don’t close.”

Here is an example of a vintage manual door closer, the kind that would have been used on these doors:

Examples from around Kraków 

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