What has Hungary Given to the World?


Wherever we go in the world, we bump into Hungarians. If not personally, then through their inventions and life achievements. There are many ordinary objects used all over the world that have been invented or made popular by Hungarians, even if most people do not realise this. We are used to the comfort that surrounds us at home, in our offices, or in our cars and on trains, but we do not often think about where all this comes from. Yet, we should be thankful to those inventors who gave us the ball-point pen, the light bulb or the film-camera. Having mentioned different means of transport, the first name that needs to be noted is Kálmán Kandó, who invented and realised three-phase hauling for railways. His invention was first put in use in Italy, where the first electrified trainline was built using the method invented by Kandó. Another Hungarian revolutioniser in transport was Donát Bánki, who invented the carburetter, which has remained an indispensable part of cars ever since. His invention was first presented at the World Expo in Paris in 1900. The name of József Galamb is associated with the beginnings of mass production, while György Jendrassik invented low-capacity, light diesel and gas turbines and motor trains and track inspection trains run by engines Jendrassik had developed.

The first master of air travel was definitely Dávid Schwarz - in spite of the fact that aerial navigation is not associated with him nowadays. Yet, it was Schwarz who invented the aluminium-made airship, which became well-known later through Zeppelin. The Hungarian inventor did not live to see the day when the first test flight was held. Zeppelin bought the plans from Schwarz's widower and made this method of transport world famous. Tibor Kármán was also experimenting in the air: he was an important researcher of flight at above the speed of sound and of modern rocket technology. Another Hungarian who made his mark as a basic researcher was Ányos Jedlik, who had built a dynamo before Siemens did, and who prepared plans for a sodawater producing machine. József Eötvös became world famous for a pendulum named after him, which represented a great step forward in oil exploration. János Neumann put down the basics of information technology, one of his famous conclusions being that the brain does not use the language of computers. János György Kemény asociated the BASIC language he had developed to this idea. Albert Szent-Györgyi received a Nobel-prize for the formula of hezuronic acid and for vitamin C, which has become widely available in thousands of variations ever since. When Leó Szilárd was preparing his plans for a nuclear reactor, it never crossed his mind that his creation would be used in a war one day. He sent the description of nuclear reactors to the Physical Review in 1940 and the US government bought the patent for one dollar. The rising middle class in Hungary in the early 1900s could enjoy a series of new articles for personal use. János Irinyi gave households matches that made the use of open flames much safer.

phoneTivadar Puskás brought them closer to each other by inventing the telephone exchange and then later the telephonograph, a predecessor of the wired radio. Dezsõ Korda gave them the world receiver by inventing the rotating plate condenser which enabled continuous tuning. The tungsten lamp, also called incandescent lamp, was the result of cooperation between Sándor Just, Ferenc Hanaman and Imre Bródy, researchers of the Tungsram laboratory. Semi-automatic cameras and film-cameras were also designed by Hungarians - József Mihályi and Ödön Riszdorfer. Mihályi's Super Kodak Six 20 camera was first presented in the New York World Expo in 1939. The slide projector and the inflammable film are also Hungarian inventions. Ottó Bláthy was the inventor of the kilowatt-hour meter, or electric meter. In cooperation with other researchers, he created the first transformer. Dénes Mihály invented the predecessor of the talking film and the television, while the first colour TV used in practice was the creation of another Hungarian inventor Péter Károly Goldmark, who was also involved in developing the first microgroove record-player. And to continue the list, stereo broadcasting is another Hungarian invention. László József Bíró patented the ball-point pen , Dávid Gestetner introduced the duplicator or stencil plate, while Dénes Gábor invented holography. This list could be continued for long because we may find many more outstanding Hungarians in all fields of history, science and art. We should mention such great figures of Hungarian music as Kodály and Bartók, the renowned poets Sándor Petõfi and Attila József, and the great politicians István Széchenyi or Lajos Kossuth would also deserve a few words. But our room is limited, so this time we had to confine ourselves to inventors. We believe that they are usually the least remembered in spite of the fact that their great inventions surround us each and every day.

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