Inventions from Poland

What was invented in Poland?

As John Iflyalot explores Poland, he’s discovered a number of inventions that we still consider so important today were invented right here in Poland!

Here is John’s list of top Polish inventions:

Invention: Bullet Proof Vest
Inventor: Kazimierz Żegleń with Jan Szczepanik

Did you know that bullet proof vest was actually invented by a priest? Born in Poland in 1869, Kazimierz Żegleń first start working on the idea in 1893 and continued working on it to make it better with his friend Jan Szczepanik.

And safe to say he did a good job! Only a few years later it saved the life of Alfonso XIII, the King of Spain!

Working with silk, he discovered a way to weave the silk which meant it could capture the bullet instead of it passing through.

Żegleń was pretty brave too. He even tested his invention himself, getting someone to fire a revolver at him. Luckily his invention was successful!

Invention: Windscreen Wiper
Inventor: Józef Hofmann

Now, there aren’t many inventions more useful than the windscreen wiper! It’s used on nearly all motor vehicles, and one of the first designs came at the start of the 20th century from a Polish inventor called Józef Hofmann.

Józef was a bit of  a prodigy. At the age of 5 he was already touring Europe as a concert pianist and was even compared to the likes of Mozart.

And over his life time he had patents for over 70 inventions!

Invention: Movie Projector
Inventor: Kazimierz Prószyński

We know what you’re going to say – the Lumiere brothers invented the movie projector! And technically that’s true.

However, one year before they patented their invention, a Polish inventor called Kazimierz Prószyński finished working on his so-called pleograph. This worked pretty much the same way as the Lumiere brothers’ invention meaning he was arguably the first person to ever build a machine able to project images!

He also went on to invent the first successful hand-held operated film camera. So we reckon the movie industry has a lot to thank Kazimierz for!

Invention: Kerosene Lamps and Street Lamps
Inventor: Ignacy Lukasiewcz

OK, kerosene lamps might not still be used as commonly today as the other inventions, but it was a real breakthrough for lighting in the house and on the streets.

Bfore 1853, having a lamp in the house wasn’t really  that useful because the fuel was used up so quickly.

But then Polish inventor Ignacy Lukasiewcz found a way to distill a substance called kerosene (or parrafin), which could keep a lamp burning for ages!

It was this use of kerosene that allowed him to create the first modern street lamp. And even if we don’t still use kerosene, street lamps are still very useful today!


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Where in the World? Poland! with support from the Polish Cultural Institute in London

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