Polish Edison – meet Jan Szczepanik

March 30, 2021

Jan Szczepanik, a Pole born in 1872 in the Austrian Partition, was praised by Emperor Franz Joseph I, Mark Twain or the Spanish king Alfonso XIII – the owner of the first silk bulletproof vest created by Szczepanik.

This body protection saved the Spanish king when an attempt on his life was carried out in 1902.

Several hundred patents and over 50 discoveries are attributed to this Pole, who once declined to receive a prestigious award from the Emperor Nicholas II of Russia. The reason behind it was his patriotic stance.

Austrian historian Joseph Maria Eder described Szczepanik as „one of the greatest Polish inventors” and Albert Abramson, the author of „Electronic Motion Pictures. A History of the Television Camera” regarded him as the leading pioneer of TV broadcasting.

The Silk bulletproof vest invented by Jan Szczepanik

In 1897 Szczepanik together with Ludwig Kleiberg obtained a British patent for the Telectroscope – the first conceptual model of a television or videophone system.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Szczepanik was involved in the development of colour photography. He is considered a pioneer in this field who set the directions for further research. His ideas were put into practice only after his death by companies such as Kodak and Agfa.

The restless „Polish Edison” worked also on the wireless telegraph, flying machines or even submarines. Jan Szczepanik passed away in 1926.

Jan Szczepanik, a giant of the Polish science is included in the dictionary of “Polish Contribution to Natural Science and Technology” published by the IPN and The Institute of the History of Science of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Have you ever wondered what the contribution of the Polish scientists to civilizational progress was?

Source: Institute of the National Remembrance

 

 

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