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The world has Hungary to thank for a number of great inventions, from vintage cars to everyday essentials. Over the last few centuries, innovative Hungarians have come up with some awesome creations – some of which have even won Nobel Prizes! We take a look at five of the most amazing things to have come out of the central European country.
Anyone who’s spent a significant amount of time puzzling in vain over how to get each side of a Rubik’s Cube the same colour can thank Hungarian sculptor Ernő Rubik for those lost hours. Also a professor of architecture, Rubik created the eponymous Rubik’s Cube in 1974 and the toy went on to become one of the world’s best sellers. Initially released as the Magic Cube, it was in 1980 that the puzzle was renamed after its inventor. Today, competitions are held to see who can solve the Rubik’s Cube the fastest with the current record standing at 4.73 seconds.
If it weren’t for Hungarian newspaper editor László Biró, the pen as we know it today may never have been invented. Previously forced to use the fountain pen, with its constant need to be refilled and ability to smudge with the slightest touch, Biró created the ballpoint pen in the early 1900s as an alternative solution and the world has never looked back. Also known as the Biro, the pen combines ink of a specific viscosity with a ball-socket design to allow ease of use.
Allowing theatre goers to see the stage more clearly, Joseph Petzval is credited with inventing opera glasses in the 1800s. The mathematician, physicist and inventor is known today for his contributions to the field of optics. Among his other notable inventions is the Petzval lens, which is still popular today in a more modern form thanks to its ability to take great portrait photographs.
Seen by many as the first car the average citizen could afford, the iconic Ford Model T was first produced in 1908 and remained popular until production was stopped in 1927. The team behind its design and creation was initially two thirds Hungarian, with engineers Jószef Galam and Eugene Farkas both playing a role in its conception. The former was chief designer at Ford and contributed much to the automobile’s design; Farkas was dismissed after a disagreement with a colleague.
Hungarian physiologist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi began his career as a student at Budapest’s Semmelweis University, before World War One broke out and he headed to the battlefield to serve as an army medic. Purposefully shooting himself in the arm earned him medical leave and as a result, he completed his studies before taking on a position at the University of Szeged. Along with research fellow Joseph Svirbely, it was during this time that Szent-Gyorgi discovered Vitamin-C, which would play a significant role in his winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1937. Today Vitamin C is commonly known for its immune system boosting properties and can easily be found in shops and pharmacies around the world.