Every Varsovian is familiar with Wedel products, but not many know that the company’s founder was German. Karol Wedel came to Poland from Berlin in 1845 and began working in a bakery owned by Karol Grohnert at 12 Piwna Street in Warsaw. Six years later, Wedel opened his own shop, and next to it he launched a Chocolate Factory. Interestingly, in the beginning Wedel also sold pharmaceutical products such as malt syrup, caramels and mint tablets.
At one point, Wedel’s chocolates became so popular that the successor of Karol Wedel, his son Emil, had to protect his products from being counterfeited by signing each bar of chocolate by hand. This is how the popular E. Wedel trademark was created.
The company grew rapidly due to the unusual and innovative ideas of its owners. In the 1920s, the factory provided a nursery, canteen, swimming bath and doctors’ office for its workers. This may not sound very surprising or innovative to you, but back then employers were not obliged to provide decent working conditions.
The company survived the war and PRL (Polish People’s Republic), however, during this period it was taken over by the government and in the years 1949-1989 it operated under the name “July 22, formerly E. Wedel”, providing sweets to all. Today, Wedel is part of the Warsaw tradition.
- A bar of chocolate (preferably Wedel’s)
- A knife
Now let’s do a little mathematical experiment. Do you want to know a trick that will let you eat a square of chocolate while leaving the bar whole? Maths and an optical illusion will help us do just that! To carry out our experiment, you will of course need one bar of chocolate, preferably Wedel’s.
Cut the bar along the line indicated in picture 1 (above). Do it carefully in order to avoid breaking the bar. Make a second cut along the line visible in picture 2. This way, you will split the chocolate into 3 pieces (as on picture 3).
Now the last step: from the row you cut off following picture 2, cut off one cube of chocolate which you can now eat. Now, push together the two pieces of chocolate cut off in step 1 and 2, and we have the whole bar back! Magic? No way!
Everything will become clear if you measure the bar both before and after the experiment. Afterwards, you will see that some centimetres are missing. This is the piece you have just eaten, so nothing really disappears without a trace and what misled us was just an optical illusion.