The Slavoljub Penkala reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Slavoljub Penkala

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Slavoljub Penkala, photo taken in 1920

Slavoljub Eduard Penkala (April 20, 1871 - February 5, 1922) was an engineer and inventor from Croatia.

Penkala was born in Liptovsk√Ĺ Mikul√°š (in what is now Slovakia), to a Polish/Dutch family. He finished schooling in Vienna and Dresden. He then immigrated with his family to Zagreb and subsequently added "Slavoljub" to his name, becoming a naturalized Croat.

He became renowned for his inventions of the first mechanical pencil (1906) (then called "automatic pencil") and the first solid-ink fountain pen (1907). Together with an enterpreneur by the name of Edmund Moster, he started a factory of pens and pencils "Penkala-Moster" that was one of the bigger in the world at the time, and still exists today (named "TOZ-Penkala", where TOZ stood for "Tvornica olovaka Zagreb", meaning "Zagreb pencil factory").

He also constructed the first Croatian two-seat aeroplane in 1909. He constructed and invented many other products and devices, and has under his name a total of 80 patents.

Among his patented inventions are a hot water bottle (his first patented invention, the "Termofor"), a type of bluing detergent, a rail-car brake and an anode battery. He also founded another factory named "Elevator" that produced various chemistry-related items, such as "Radium Vinovica", a patent-medicine-like product sold as curing various forms of rheumatism.

Penkala died rather abruptly in Zagreb at the age of 51, after picking up pneumonia on a business trip.

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