A permanent supply of coal gas for street lighting was established in Warsaw in 1856, and by 1900 there were more than 2,000 gas lamps in the city’s street. More gasworks were built in the second half of the nineteenth century to meet growing demand, among them the Wola plant, constructed in red brick in the neo-classical style in 1886-88. The works was severely damaged and was forced to close in the final stages of the Second World War, but its engineers succeeded in restoring supplies by July 1945. The last gas was produced at the plant in 1978.
The museum was established the previous year. It conserves and interprets the nineteenth- and twentieth-century machinery that remains in the works, including its monumental gas holders. It also demonstrates the variety of household appliances that could be operated with gas, including ovens, water heaters for bathrooms, refrigerators, smoothing irons, coffee roasters and hair curlers. Displays show something of the history of the gas industry in Warsaw. The museum has a large and important collection of gas street lamps.