Pre-Soviet Manhole Covers in Lviv
Lviv has hundreds of Austrian- and Polish-era manhole covers covering various buried public utilities and services such as sewers, storm drains, water mains, electricity, telephone, hydrants, etc. These covers still prevent unauthorized access to the manholes; however, the companies that manufactured them, whose inscriptions are still visible, are defunct.
The large round manhole covers for access to the sewers date back to the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the 1930s, first from the Austrian then Polish times. Most of the inscriptions are in Polish, with such words as kanalizacja (sewerage) and Lwow, and many Polish surnames. Some also include the names of factories, such as “Perkun Lwow. Społka komandy F. Pietzscha. Fabryka maszyn odlew zelaza” (Perkun Lwow. F. Pietzsch Company. Cast Iron Machine Factory).
There are still many of these in Lviv, but some of the inscriptions have worn off from the millions of feet that have walked over them; others are stolen for scrap metal.