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    Inventions you didn’t know were created in Poland

    Poland has earned a reputation for being country of courage, pride and heroic characters. The sometimes harsh nature of Poland’s history helped develop its strength and bounce back ability. However, the country can also boast people whose inventions improved lives the world over. The list of innovations, engineers and scientists goes on and on and their stories are fascinating. Here are just a few examples


    The Kerosene lamp is one of the oldest inventions on our list, dating back to 1853. The inventor was Ignacy Łukasiewicz, who was based in Lwów, which was Polish territory at the time. The lamp was cheap and gave more light than candles, his creation consequently rapidly became popular all over the world.  Despite its success, the lamp was in fact a byproduct of much more important scientific project. Łukasiewicz was looking for fuel that could be obtained quickly and inexpensively to replace the heavy oils. At the turn of 1852-1853 the petrochemical industry was kickstarted thanks to kerosene. Without his invention, modern refineries and advanced petroleum products would not exist today.


    The Bulletproof vest was invented in 1897 by two Poles, the priest – engineer Kazimierz Żegleń and inventor Jan Szczepanik also known as the “Polish Edison”.  They designed a multi-layered fabric, mainly consisting of silk which was one of the most durable materials at the time. It was able to prevent bullets from piercing even pine boards. During the research, they decided to strengthen their invention with an additional layer thin sheet of metal. They tested it on the folded screen, which reflected not only the 8-millimeter Mannlicher rifle bullets, but also 12-millimeter projectiles capable of penetrating steel sheet from a distance of 100 meters. Once the vest was ready it was tested in the courtyard of Szczepanik Vienna studio. The trial was observed by representatives of the country’s authorities and the army. Director Borzykowski shot the servant John with a 7 mm revolver from a distance of three steps. John survived, as such they concluded that the new invention was a success. The vest became famous  in 1902, when the bulletproof material installed on a carriage saved the life of Alfonso XIII, King of Spain during an assassination attempt in Paris on his wedding day.

    The first mine detector was created during the Second World War by two Polish officers – Józef Kosacki and Andrzej Garboś. At the time they both served in the Polish Armed Forces in the West. The first detector tests took place on March 5, 1942 in Scotland. The device worked very well, but the creators did not patent it. It was not long after its inception that it had its first moment of glory. Five hundred detectors were deployed by the English who managed to pass through minefields at El Alamein in Egypt in 1942. It would be no exaggeration to say that it was the Polish invention that contributed to the victory of the Eighth Army. On this occasion, Kosacki received an official congratulatory letter from the British king himself. Furthermore the detectors had such great longevity that it was used for over 50 years!

    In 2011 Polish scientists from the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology in Łódź developed a method for producing large sheets of graphene with particularly high quality. Graphene is a thin, single layer of carbon atoms forming a hexagonal honeycomb pattern. This futuristic material is stronger than steel, and yet incredibly flexible, thus graphene has enormous potential. The Polish method of producing graphene was granted a patent in the United States. Graphene is antibacterial and heat-conducting, which makes it useful in numerous areas, ranging from medicine to construction and technology. Graphene has already been described as a miracle in the material world, and it may also open the door for great possibilities for Poland too.

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