Oh, yes! We talk about things that people all around the world use every day, having no idea they were actually invented or made in a small European country – Croatia. But here we are – it’s time for you to hear us roar. There are many Croatians and their inventions without which the world we know wouldn’t exist.
This article will mention people who were born in Croatia but lived and worked abroad, as well as some born in other parts of the world, but who developed their inventions while living in Croatia.
Let’s start with Nikola Tesla, the electrical engineer born in Croatia, best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system (the 1890s).
– Sorry, what? –
– He’s the guy who invented electricity (in Croatian: struja) . –
– Oh, why didn’t you say so! –
Next, we have Ivan Vučetić, who was born in Croatia (Island of Hvar) and lived in Argentina. He was the first person ever to solve a crime by identifying the murderer based on the murderer’s fingerprints (1892). His method of fingerprint classification – known as dactyloscopy – was soon after adopted by police all over the world (in Croatian: svijet).
We have to also mention Slavoljub Eduard Penkala. Born in Slovakia as Eduard Penkala, he moved to Croatia with his family and took a Croatian name, Slavoljub. Penkala invented an automatic pencil (1906), known today as the mechanical pencil and solid ink fountain pen. With his partner, he started a pen-and-pencil company that exists to this day (TOZ Penkala).
But that’s not all! Ever heard of a hot water bottle, rotating toothbrush, or a pocket flashlight? Yup, also courtesy of Mr. Penkala.
There are, naturally, many more famous Croats who lived through centuries worth mentioning, but we’re here to learn about modern-day inventors.
Let’s kick this off with Tomislav Uzelac. Back in 1997, Uzelac created AMP, the first ever MP3 player. Later on, Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev, two students from the University of Utah, adapted his work for Windows. That was how Winamp was created.
Zlata Bartl was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina but lived in Croatia. While working at the Croatian food company Podravka, she created Vegeta (1957), the unique spice mix, that has become one of the most important Croatian brands. The combination of spices (in Croatian: začini) in Vegeta is still a well-kept secret.
Vegeta is the secret ingredient that gives Croatian dishes their recognizable taste. If you’ve ever tried Croatian food, chances are you’ve tried Vegeta. Yummy!
Mate Rimac, (born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, lives and works in Croatia) built his first car (in Croatian: automobil or just auto) in his father’s garage. He then started his own company, Rimac Automobili, in 2009. The company develops and produces electric supercars and its first model, the Concept One, is known as the world’s fastest electric production vehicle.
Apart from the Concept One, Rimac also developed the Concept S and Concept 2, all-electric battery-powered hypercars. Rimac is in charge of producing hybrid battery systems for Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, Jaguar cars and many others.
Pay-by-phone parking was invented by young Croatian innovators and introduced in Croatia by Vipnet company. Just like the name says, it makes it possible to pay for parking by sending a text message. Pay-by-phone parking was first introduced in Zagreb in 2001, but since then it has been used in almost every country in the world. This method of paying saves us every time we get out of the car with no change in our pockets. Unless, of course, we’ve forgotten to take or cell phones with us too…
Do you know of some other Croatian inventions that we haven’t mentioned here?