January, 25 of 2008
Hungarian Inventors and their Inventions
Despite its population and geographical nature, Hungary always had outstanding role in development of electronic engineering. Especially, it is related to power-current branch; in other fields (electronics, telecommunications, informatics), excellent Hungarian inventors created significant inventions.
Our present survey covers Hungarian power-current development, such as electric machines, electric plants, electric traction, lighting engineering. Additional significant works of the participants shall be mentioned, and Hungarian scientists developing transformation of energy sources into energy shall be reminded.
Further we survey issues of the 19th-20th centuries. Let's begin!
At the University of Sciences of Budapest (today Eötvös Lóránd University) the professor of physics Ányos Jedlik (1800-1895) of the 19th century participated in the development of electronic engineering during his career. In 1828, he constructed the first direct-current motor with electromagnet and commutator. In 1861, he described the principle of self-excitation used for production of electronic energy first time in the world. He also attempted to apply it in homopolar generator. Since he did not patent his inventions of the direct-current motor and dynamo, the world acknowledged other inventors of these products.
The activity of Ányos Jedlik is proved by working model of electronic vehicle (auto or locomotive) in 1855. The jury of the World Exhibition of 1873 in Vienna awarded his voltage multiplying condenser of cascade connection with prize "For Development". Through this condenser, Jedlik framed the principle of surge generator of cascaded connection. The jury was headed by Werner Siemens who had framed the principle of self-excitation in 1866 and used as direct-current generator named "dynamo". continue
Ganz Works - the 19th century
At the end of the 19th century, the development and production of the Ganz and Partner Iron Mill and Machine Factory (hereinafter referred to as Ganz Works) had tremendous expansion of alternating-current energy transfer. The company's general manager recognizing significance of electronic engineering András Mechwart (1853-1942) founded the Department of Electronic Engineering headed by Károly Zipernowsky (1860-1939). Engineers Miksa Déri (1854-1938) and Ottó Títusz Bláthy (1860-1939) also worked at the department producing direct-current machines and arc lamps. In cooperation, Zipernovsky, Déri and Bláthy constructed and patented the transformer (see Picture 2). It is noteworthy, that the name "transformer" was created by Ottó Titusz Bláthy.
Besides gear ratio based on ratio of number of turns, in the patents of transformer (protected by two patents) the inventors generated two basic principles: they demanded the parallel connection of consumers and feeds on primary and secondary sides of the transformer that was not used generally until 1885. Additionally, they described the closed armature as essential constructional part of the transformer. Both factors assisted the stabilization of tension and introduction of standard voltage. Emphasizing the necessity of parallel connection made construction of energy systems possible and their economic investments.
It is noteworthy that the Ganz Works built the first transformers using iron cover of enameled mild iron wire, and started to use laminated core of today at the end of 1885. Following introduction of transformer, the Ganz Works changed over to production of alternating-current equipments successfully. (For instance, Rome's electric supply was resolved by hydroelectric plant and energy transfer of long distance.)
Besides invention of transformer, three engineers had significant inventions, and made a lot for electronic engineering during their lives. Here we mention the major inventions. Károly Zipernowsky participated in construction of 60 power stations; he acted as the first professor of electric engineering of the Budapest University of Technology, and Economics (hereinafter referred to as BMGE).
Miksa Déri developed the repulsion motor for elevators of buildings with alternating current. He also participated in construction of Vienna's electric supply. Whole his life, Ottó Titusz Bláthy worked at the Ganz Works. His basic job was the construction and patenting of induction flow meter of 1889 used today. (See Picture 3.) In the 1930s, he initiated the Hungarian production of turbogenerator known worldwide.
Invention of Serbian Nikola Tesla, the short circuit rotary-field motor (induction motor) had significant importance in the filed of alternating current. He patented it in the USA (1888), and he remembered that his idea had born during his activity in Budapest (1881-82). continue
Ganz and Tungsram - the 20th century
The Ganz Works identified the significance of induction motor and commissioned Kálmán Kandó (1869-1931) to develop it. After construction of different types, Kálmán Kandó initiated the development of railway electric traction with induction motor of alternating current by the Ganz Works. The Ganz Works won the tender of electrification of railway of Valtellina Railways in 1897. Under the management and on the base of plans of Kálmán Kandó, three phase electric traction (two upper wires + rails) of feed 3 kV and 15 Hz - produced by a different power station - was realized for thirty years from 1902.
After the World War 1, in the frames of the Ganz Works, Kálmán Kandó constructed one-phase railway electric system of 16 kV and 50 Hz incipient all over the world. Its main attribute was the feed by normal network, so additional power station became unnecessary. Consequently, Hungarian electric traction could be formed according to the country's energy management. Kálmán Kandó adapted the speed-torque curve to electric traction through changing the phase number and pole number. Kálmán Kandó built phase shifter in the locomotives forming speed levels.
Because of early death of Kálmán Kandó, László Verebély continued the work for the Hungarian Railways (MÁV). Moreover, he managed the construction of a nationwide power station (Bánhida) supplying as the railways as Budapest with electric power by transmission line of 110 kV. He elaborated the first plans of the nationwide cooperation of electric energy. In the 1930s he organized the Department of Electric Stations and Railways of the BMGE, so he became a professor of a significant branch of heavy current engineering.
Tungsram - "Egyesült Izzó"
Significant inventions and technological developments were born in another necessary field of usage of the electric power, of lighting engineering. These developments are related to the factory "Egyesült Izzó", originally situated in Újpest. This factory is known abroad as Tungsram. Mostly between the two world wars, in the laboratories of the factory, researchers achieved significant results not related to power electronics.
Spreading of incandescent bulb was influenced by buying the patent of production of tungsten filament created by Sándor Just and Croatian Franjo Hanaman in 1906 by the factory. The factory started the production of the bulbs (see Picture 4). Later, the incandescent bulb improved by new patents was spread all over the world resulting the development of the Egyesült Izzó. (Edison's carbon filament bulb of 1880 did not become an essential lightening source because of its unfavorable technical characters.)
The Egyesült Izzó established a laboratory for researches in 1921. In the course of continuous development, Imre Bródy (1891-1944) invented the so-called krypton bulb. He used krypton-xenon filling of longer life and higher efficiency in bulb of optimized form (see Picture 5) instead of compound of argon and nitrogen. For production of this invention, cooperating with Mihály Polányi, he elaborated the technology of production of compound krypton-xenon from the air in 1934.
Lipót Aschner successful in business life was the general manager of the Egyesült Izzó in the 1930s. He had sense of recognizing the tendencies of development of physics.
At this time, Dénes Gábor (1900-1979) worked at the laboratories. Initially he was busy in oscillograph of cathode ray for observation of transient responses of high-tension transmission line in Germany. He developed a plasma lamp in 1933-34 that could not be produced. After, Dénes Gábor immigrated to the United Kingdom. Here he worked in the field of electron optics. So, he invented the hologram. Following invention of laser, he constructed the laser hologram. Acknowledging his professional and scientific activities - especially for construction of holography - he was honored with Nobel Prize in physics in 1971.
Lipót Aschner invited Zoltán Bay to head the research laboratories in 1935. Besides lightening engineering, the Egyesült Izzó was a leading factory of electronics and communications of that time. It also supported the researches of latest tendencies of physics.
Upon suggestion of Lipót Aschner, Zoltán Bay founded the first Department of Nuclear Physics of today's BMGE in 1942. He carried out researches in radar in the Egyesült Izzó. With his colleagues, he was the first who measured the distance of the Earth and Moon in 1946. In 1948, he had to leave Hungary and he continued his successful career in the USA. One of his successes is that the International Bureau of Weights and Measures accepted his definition of meter based on light velocity as etalon all over the world in 1983. continue
Power station history
Besides researchers of the electrical engineering, Hungarian inventors and scientists contributing to systems of energy transformation necessary for electric power production with discoveries and inventions also shall be mentioned. These inventions are related to energy transformation of hydraulic power, thermal energy, and nuclear energy.
Today, the UN still recommends to third world countries the hydraulic turbine of Donát Bánki (1859-1922) patented in 1916 . It is suitable for middle size falls and volume flow rate. It makes possible the fast utilization of water as renewing energy source.
In the filed of thermal power plant, László Heller (1907-1986) elaborated a cooling system, named "Heller-System". For air cooling system, he used recuperator elaborated by László Forgó (1907-1985). Therefore, this system is named "Heller-Forgó" system. László Heller organized the Department of Energy Management of the BMGE in 1951, and acted as its first professor.
The peaceful use of nuclear energy is realized in nuclear plants. Hungarian scientists contributed to principles of their basic unit, the nuclear reactor. They also participated in construction of the nuclear and hydrogen bomb during and after the Second World War.
Among them Leó Szilárd (1989-1964) wanted to deal with chain process of neutrons in the UK in the 1930s; it became possible in the USA later. In the USA, he described the system of uranium graphite system in inhomogeneous space. He could publish it after the war only. This time the USA government bought his patent of nuclear reactor elaborated with Enrico Fermi.
Jenő Wigner (1902-1995) deemed as the "greatest Hungarian physicist" was chemical engineer first. In the USA, he elaborated the concept of the nuclear fission with Leó Szilárd in 1939. He also participated in the calculations necessary for placing the first nuclear reactor in service. After the war, he was busy in development of reactor in Oak Ridge, and he was considered as the first "reactor engineer". For theoretical works, Jenő Wigner was awarded with Nobel Prize.
Besides using the renewing energy sources, for solution of the world's long-term energy problems, usage of nuclear energy base on fusion is necessary. It is possible with regulated reactors of fusion. Ede Teller - died recently - contributed to clarification of basic principles of nuclear fusion reactors. He immigrated to the USA before the Second World War too.