There are many noteworthy personalities in Polish history, including several innovators, and many of their famous inventions are used daily.
From medicine to linguistics, from engineering to digital innovation. All this became real not only because of great diligence, but also thanks to luck. The success of any scientific project is not known in advance, and any initiative is like playing roulette in a casino. Probably, these projects were developed, as they say in Polish, in “kasyno z bonusem za rejestracje“. And this allows them to implement innovations in crucial areas.
Although it is difficult to objectively determine which among them are the most beneficial, the most commonly used or have had the most considerable influence on the evolution of civilization, we have tried to tell more about the top achievements in our opinion.
In 1910, Polish scientist Kazimierz Funk started his research, leading to an outstanding discovery. Funk derived a pattern: the “avian version” of beriberi called polyneuritis affects only pigeons given peeled rice.
The scientist conducted a series of experiments and isolated two fractions of rice husks. Funk divided pigeons with polyneuritis into two groups: he gave fraction A to one and fraction B to the other. The birds of the first group died, while those of the second group recovered. Funk continued his experiments and isolated a trace element from fraction B that helped cure the pigeons of polyneuritis. He named this trace element vitamin: from the Latin vita “life” and English amine “amine, a nitrogen-containing substance.”
Funk obtained vitamin B1, now known as thiamine, and later scientists found this vitamin in various foods, particularly milk and barley.
The story of the invention of the bulletproof vest is associated with not one but two Poles: Jan Szczepanik and Kazimierz Żegleń. In 1893, Carter Harrison was assassinated, which, according to historians, had an overwhelming influence on Żegleń’s work. He set to work with a sense of a meaningful mission and succeeded. The clergyman, who was in the US then, invented an armor that could protect people from assassins.
The prototypes, which Żegleń repeatedly tested, consisted of “Aberdeen” fabric, under which animal hair was attached, and sheets of impregnated silk fabric. Żegleń demonstrated the final proof of the armor’s effectiveness in 1897.
Soon Zeglen met Szczepanik. They signed a contract under which Szczepanik’s plants were to develop a method for mass production of bulletproof armor. The contribution on Szczpanik’s part proved invaluable. Although there was a dispute between the inventors over the right to be titled the vest’s creator, they are often considered the two rightful inventors.
Another world-famous Polish invention is the Esperanto language, invented by Ludwik Zamenhof, the most popular artificial language in the world. Ludwik Zamenhof, a Pole of Jewish origin, was an ophthalmologist by education and a linguist by calling: in 1887, he published the first textbook of the new language he created, Esperanto.
Zamenhof dreamed of a bright future for all humanity, believing that the main reason for misunderstandings and conflicts between people was the language barrier. Zamenhof thought he could solve this problem by creating a single modern language with a simple and understandable structure. Although Esperanto has never become a global language, it is used by about two million people in one way or another.