Top 5 Polish inventions


Image: Wikimedia Commons


Many people would know Poland as the country of potatoes, the 9th biggest country in Europe. This beautiful country also has the second oldest constitution on the planet! Cool! And the name Poland, which comes from the tribe ‘Polanie’ means ‘People Living in Open Grounds’! There are a ton of things to learn about Poland, but did you know that Poland has some of the most interesting inventions on the planet? It also has people with the most brilliant discoveries in the world. Polish astronomer Mikolaj Kopernik, for example, is the guy who made the discovery that planets go around the sun while spinning on their axis! This is what is known as heliocentricism.

Here are six more mind-blowing inventions that come from Poland!

1. Kerosene lamp

Image: Wikimedia Commons

This invention gave the world, a glimmer of light! One that allowed people to have lots of light! In the past, candles were used a lot and were not as sustainable. As much as they provide light during the dark for a very long time, it did not provide sufficient lighting. In 1853, Ignius Lukasiewicz made a discovery that gave alternative lighting in 1856, when he built the first refinery, and discovered that he could get kerosene easily. A kerosene lamp is a tin with a glass covering, with a wick and kerosene as fuel for the light. Ignius discovered that one can extract kerosene from petroleum. Oil lamps had been used before, for many years, but the modern kerosene lamp brought a change. Kerosene was more affordable, and with other inventors, they were able to create a safe way of having light and kerosene burn in a way that it could be carried around safely! The kerosene lamp was then adapted all over the world, as an alternative to candles.

2. Toothpaste

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We brush our teeth maybe several times a day, no one feels comfortable leaving the house without brushing their teeth, because the feeling is not so fresh! Dental hygiene is important and we have the Polish man to thank for the toothpaste, one of the best in self-care! Before the toothpaste we know today was invented, a powdery substance had been in use for thousands of years. Oscar Troplowitz, was a chemist and inventor who, among toothpaste, invented a lot of other things like the self-adhesive dressing plaster, and co-founded NIVEA Cream. His PEBECO toothpaste was produced in the thousands and were exported all around the world, bringing a change to dental health! While there probably are thousands of toothpaste brands around the world at the moment, with different flavors, and modifications, it is important to recognize that the humble beginnings gave the product a good head start!

3. Walkie talkie

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The two-way portable radio receiver that you have seen in movies, used mostly by police or you might have used one was invented as a way to assist pilots to communicate in a better way. The Polish telecommunications engineer Henry Magnuski living and working in Chicago at the time and during the start of World War II, invented the walkie talkie. He went to Warsaw University, where he graduated in 1934, started work, and in 1939, he was posted to the USA where he worked at Motorola. The walkie talkie that he helped formulate, was used by the US army in the war, an SCR-536 Radio station which the military gave the name Handi-talkie, then later, made the walkie-talkie, a 16kg Motorola SCR-300 designed by Henry Magnuski. The device has been formulated over time, with changes in design and weight, and has been an important mode of communication over the years.

4. Bulletproof vest 

Image: Wikipedia

You probably have watched a movie and seen all these policemen or the bad guys wearing these mostly black garments while doing their roles and stunts! The bulletproof vests, yes! Most police or security officers, or people who require a high level of security in the world will often wear bulletproof vests in their everyday life. Back in 1879, a Polish priest/engineer Kazimierz Zeglen and inventor Jan Szczepanik made one of these using silk material, which was very common! The assassination of the Mayor of Chicago, Carter Harrison Snr. inspired the design and invention of the bulletproof vest. In 1893, he invented the first bulletproof vest, which he improved, together with Jan Szczepanik in 1901. The new version of the bulletproof vest saved the life of The King of Spain, Alfonso III whose carriage was saved by the bulletproof material when a bomb exploded near it! The bulletproof vest has come a long way, the inventors started by using chainmail, then later, he learned to interweave silk in such a way that it could capture the bullets of the time! Over time, the bulletproof vest has been modified and has gained popularity all over the world, used by many people all over the world! Very interesting!

5. A language!

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Languages are great! They are an amazing way to communicate; they also give people an identity and somethings just sound so much fun when said in a mother tongue. There are also languages which bring people of different cultures and languages together! Imagine being in a country with over thirty languages! That country will need at least one language that will bring the people together, more like a national language, and this way, people of different tongues can communicate easily! While some languages are difficult to understand where they originated from, Poland has a reputation of being the origin of the Esperanto language! Why is it such a big deal? Do you ask? Well, a polish Linguist Zamenhof, who spoke many languages among them Polish, Yiddish, Russian, German, Belarusian, Greek, Hebrew, Amharic, Latin, and English, later. While studying in Warsaw, he started to develop his own language and even published a book ‘Fundamento de Esperanto’ or Fundamentals of Esperanto, which he had made very complex, and when he learned English, he made Esperanto be much simpler. He made it in such a way that it was simple to translate! In 1906, a year after he published his book, the first World Esperanto Congress happened and since then, the number of people speaking Esperanto has grown!