Croatian People Who Have Changed The World

Nikola Tesla

This world famous inventor, best known by designing the modern alternating current electricity supply system, was born in Croatian village Smiljan in the Lika region. He moved to the United States in 1884 to work for Thomas Edison in New York. Although his work fell into relative obscurity after his death, in 1960 the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the tesla in his honor. Since the 1990s Tesla has experienced resurgence in interest in popular culture.

Slavoljub Penkala

Slavoljub Penkala was a Croatian engineer and inventor of Dutch-Polish-Jewish descent.  In the late 1890she moved to Zagreb with his family where he patented mechanical pencil and the first solid-inkfountain pen. Among his patented inventions were a hot water bottle, a type of bluing detergent, a rail-car brake and an anode battery. His pen and pencil factory still exists today in Zagreb.

Ivan Vucetic

Ivan Vucetic  was the founder of dactylography , the science of using fingerprints to uniquely identify someone. Vucetic was born on the Croatian island of Hvar in the Dalmatia region in 1858, then part of the Habsburg Monarchy. In 1882 he moved to Argentina where he perfected the science of fingerprint identification started by Francis Galton. Argentine police adopted Vucetich’s method of fingerprinting classification and it spread to police forces all over the world.

Rudjer Boskovic

Rudjer Boskovic, born in 1711, was a physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet and a polymath from Dubrovnik. He produced a precursor of atomic theory and made many contributions to astronomy, including the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position. In 1753 he also discovered the absence of atmosphere on the Moon.

Ivan Lukic

Also known as Ivan Lupis, Vukic was born in Rijeka in 1813, and is best known for developing the first prototype of the self-propelled torpedo. British machine engineer Robert Whitehead perfected the design, which then became the standard equipment of navies across the world.

Tomislav Uzelac

Tomislav Uzelac is a Croatian programmer who in 1997 created the AMP, the first MP3 player. Two students from the University of Utah, Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev adapted it to work on Windows and called it WinAMP.

Mario Puratic

Mario Puratic, born on the Brac Island in 1917, invented the Puretic power block in the US where he worked as a fisherman. His invention was revolutionary fishing equipment used to facilitate extraction of the net from the sea. In 1975, Mario Puratić was proclaimed the inventor of the year in the United States and also one among America’s most famous 100 inventors of the 20th century.

Franjo Kajfez

Thanks to Franjo Kajfez, many people don’t have to battle their anxieties any more. Although he patented over 80 inventions, his most famous is Valium, a benzodiazepine drug used to treat a wide range of conditions such as anxiety and panic attacks, insomnia, seizures, muscle spasms, restless legs syndrome, alcohol withdrawal syndrome and other.

Marcel Kiepach

Marcel Kiepach from Krizecvi patented a dynamo for vehicle lighting. It was an electric generator combined with the mechanical drive of the vehicle itself. This transformer for low voltage was widely implemented according to the “Kiepach-Weiland System”. Kiepach also patented a maritime compass that indicates north regardless of the presence of iron or magnetic forces.

Josip Belusic

No car would be the same today if it weren’t for Josip Belusic, a Croatian inventor from Istria. He designed the first electric speedometer. He displayed his invention at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1889, the same one where the Eiffel Tower was first introduced.