Hungary has always been a dynamic destination. Even under communism, travelers came in droves to visit from neighboring nations. Austrians, for instance, were known to frequent Budapest, Hungary’s capital city, to enjoy its farmer’s markets, shopping and dining. Two things were guaranteed in Budapest: reasonable prices and exceptional quality.
Today, Hungary retains its heritage, accommodating the changing times while staying true to its nature. At Eminence Organics, we’re proud of our Hungarian roots. Not only is the country the birthplace of our president Boldijarre Koronczay, Hungary also organically represents everything we believe in and is the epitome of our mission and purpose. We continue to celebrate and enjoy Hungary — the people are friendly, the farms are fertile and the prices are still affordable. Travelers can bathe in the healing, thermal waters and receive blessings from the legendary statue of Anonymous. In short, there’s a lot for travelers to love about Hungary.
But there’s more to Hungary than just its generous citizens, organic products and iconic tourist destinations. The country has a rich history of important inventions and brilliant innovations.
Here are 10 things you probably didn’t know were invented in Hungary.
1. The Modern Computer
You might not know the name “John von Neumann”, but you’re probably reading this blog on his invention. The Hungarian-born mathematician has earned numerous accolades, but the most notable is surely: “Father of Modern Computer.” Von Neumann was the originator of the “von Neumann architecture,” the basic principle of computer design. The von Neumann computers are considered the ancestors of modern desktop and laptop computers.
2. The Ballpoint Pen
The ballpoint pen was invented in 1931 by the journalist Laszlo Biro, thanks to the frustration caused by the splattering of fountain pens. The “Eureka” moment for Biro was at a printing shop in Budapest when he noticed that newspaper ink dried as soon as it touched paper. Biro spoke about his revelation, saying: “It got me thinking how this process could be simplified right down to the level of an ordinary pen.” With the help of his chemist brother, George, they created a tool that would transform writing forever.
3. The Rubik’s Cube
In 1974, a young architecture professor in Budapest was trying to explain how geometry worked in three dimensions. To do so, he created a cube, labeling the sides with colorful stickers so he could keep track of them. He never imagined that his invention, which would go on to be called the “Rubik’s Cube”, would become the best-selling toy of all time.
That Hungarian professor’s name was Erno Rubik.
Fun fact: There are 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 (or 43 quintillion) permutations to the Rubik’s Cube. All can be solved within 20 moves.
4. The Helicopter
The idea for the helicopter is nothing new. There’s evidence of an ancient Chinese toy with a bamboo “airscrew”, and Da Vinci made sketches featuring “helicopter-esque” objects. However, it wasn’t until 1928 that an early prototype of the helicopter managed to take off. This was the work of Hungarian Oszkar Asboth and his team, who are often seen as pioneers of modern aviation.
5. The Pulitzer Prize
The Pulitzer Prize is named after Joseph Pulitzer. Pulitzer was a Hungarian-American publisher who left money in his will to launch a journalism school at Columbia University in New York City and create the prestigious prize. Now, one of the most sought-after awards, the Pulitzer Prize is synonymous with excellence in the fields of journalism, literature and musical composition.
6. The Safety Match
The idea for the noiseless match came to Hungarian chemist and inventor Janos Irinyi while observing a failed experiment by Professor Meissner at the Polytechnicum College. After conducting a long string of failed experiments, Irinyi patented his innovation for a safe, noiseless match in 1836. His simple but revolutionary method involved swapping a mixture of phosphorous with lead dioxide instead of potassium chlorate as was the norm.
7. BMW Diesel Engine
Born in Szolnok, Hungary in 1938, engineer Ferenc Anisits became world-famous for leading a team to develop the BMW diesel engine. Rather than use a 6-cylinder engine, they created a 4-cylinder engine which was just as powerful, only smaller and more fuel efficient. He went on to lead a team to develop the world’s first electronically-controlled diesel injection system in 1993. This laid the foundation for today’s direct injection diesel engine.
The history of holography starts in 1947, when Hungarian-born British scientist, Dennis Gabor, developed the holography theory. The idea came to him as he was working to improve an electron microscope’s resolution. He coined “hologram” from two Greek words: Holos meaning “whole” and gramma meaning “message”.
9. Handwashing in Modern Medicine
It may be common medical practice today, but prior to 1850 surgeons and physicians did not wash their hands before performing examinations and surgeries. This all changed in 1847 when Hungarian obstetrician, Ignaz Semmelweis questioned the belief that illness or disease were caused by “evil spirits”.
In his search to determine why women at the Vienna General Hospital were dying from puerperal fever during labor, Semmelweis’ data eventually made the connection between dirty hands and “morbid poison”––what we now call Group A hemolytic streptococcus bacteria. Though his findings were initially dismissed, his work is now lauded as being a monumental discovery that has saved countless lives to date.
10. Vitamin C!
More a discovery than an invention, it deserves a mention: Vitamin C. As diseases like scurvy plagued humans for centuries, the ignorance of the role malnutrition played in health was discovered as many times as it was forgotten into the early 20th century until 1932. It was at this time that Hungarian doctor Albert Szent-Gyorgyi discovered that ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) gives the body the ability to efficiently use proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This effectively eliminated scurvy and redefined the way we look at nutrition.
A tech-driven, energy-efficient, healthier world is surely a better world. We can thank Hungary for radically transforming our planet with their inventions and innovations. At Eminence Organic Skin Care, we’re proud to bring Hungary’s exceptional standard for quality to the spa industry with our award-winning products. To learn more, visit us at our Eminence Certified Organic Farm, or click HERE for a mini-video tour of our farm from Eminence Organics’ president and founder, Boldijarre Koronczay.