Inventions from around the world: Hungary

Apr 12, 2012 | Musings

Today starts a new series of blog posts on inventions by country, particularly those countries from which our wonderful FE staff hail. The idea was given to me by my Hungarian colleague, Anikó, who recently informed me that the Rubik’s cube, ballpoint pens and Vitamin C (?!) were all invented by Hungarians. My challenge is to find inventions from Essex so if  you know of any, please let me know!

So, we’ll start with Hungary and there are loads! Inventor, architect and Professor of Architecture Ernő Rubik, in fact, gets a whole section of his own with the Cube, Domino, Magic, Snake and Triamid!

Wikipedia also states that matches were invented by a Hungarian. Actually, the noiseless match is the Hungarian contribution – invented in 1836 by a young chemistry student, János Irinyi. The word match, incidentally, comes from the Old French mèche meaning the wick of a candle.

Now to the ballpoint pen… There were a few patents and attempts at an alternative to the fountain pen going back to 1888, but the first one that really worked was patented in 1938 by László (you guessed it…) Bíró, a Hungarian newspaper editor who got fed up with the nibs ripping the paper.

I could go on all day with this but will leave you with one final Hungarian contribution to our modern lives. Nobel prize winning Hungarian physiologist Albert Szent-Györgyi is indeed credited with discovering vitamin C.


Photo: © Olga Kolos |