Engineer Slavoljub Eduard Penkala was one of the most
significant inventors of the early 20th century.
He was a Croatian chemical engineer and inventor of Polish descent, with Polish-Jewish and Dutch origin. Penkala was born on 20th April 1871 in Liptószentmiklós, Hungary (today Slovakia today).
After graduating on in September 1892 and completing his studies at the universities in Vienna and Dresden, he graduated from the Royal High School of Technical Sciences in Dresden in March 1898. He wrote his doctoral dissertation in the field of organic chemistry.
Even then at that time Penkala already spoke, read and
wrote German, Slovak, Polish, Hungarian. He also and
During his studies, he attended violin lessons, where he met his future wife, the pianist Emilia Stoffregen, with whom they he would havehad four children.
After his wedding, in 1900 he chose Zagreb as his family's place of residence and settled in at today's address 17 King Tomislav Square 17 in Zagreb. This is where his brilliant career began. Over time, he added Slavoljub to his name and became a naturalized Croat.
The creative spirit and the environment in which he lived
and worked resulted in about 80 inventions and innovations
applicable to daily life, industry, transport, etc.
His work coverds inventions in the field of mechanics, chemistry, physics and aeronautics.
Already in 1903 he patented a thermophore in Budapest, Vienna and elsewhere. In Simultaneously parallel, he worked on inventions of a mechanical pen and fountain pen.
He patented the world's first mechanical pencil on 24th January 1906. As early as 1907, he patented the world's first solid ink pen on 31th May 1907.
Patents have been filed in more than 35 countries.
In 1908, Penkala began casting the first gramophone records,
and only a year later the he was the first in Croatia began
to begin recording the voices of our operetta and opera
singers on the Edison-Bell-Penkala (today Croatia Records)
gramophone records in Nikolic Street (today Tesla street
The cooperation was agreed in London. The company was involved in the production of plates records and gramophones.
Alongside the Zagreb factory in Zagreb, another Moster family member opened a the second factory in Berlin, Germany, with awhich was a joint venture.
In 1908, Penkala began constructing an aircraft in
Zagreb, which made the operation so easy that anyone on
it could fly it, without special preparation and
He patented his innovations in 1909, and the aircraft was completely completed in 1910.
He built a hangar at a military training ground between the village road and the Črnomerec creek stream in Zagreb, thus organizing the first take-off in Croatia.
There, Dragutin Novak took off by plane and became the
first Croatian pilot.
Penkala gradually modified the original structure to improve her his flying skills. But the aircraft was still difficult to operate, and in 1910 an accident occurred in which the aircraft was damaged, after which Penkala gave up further work on it. Nevertheless,
Penkala's aircraft remained was remembered as the first aircraft built and flown in Croatia.
In his efforts to develop industry in the city of Zagreb and
throughout Croatia, he died suddenly on 5th February 5,
1922, after an official trip from which he returned with
And so at the age of 51, the life of a great creator was cut short.
The square near his former hangar was named after him, and in the courtyard of today’s Nikola Tesla Technical Museum is his bust , among the great figuress of Croatian science and technology., is his bust