Franjo Hanaman – the father of lightbulbs

In the atmosphere of the exhibition ‘Hrvatska svijetu’ or ‘Croatia to the world,’ in Zagreb’s Meštrović Pavilion – let us recycle our story of The Father of the Bulb.

Mr. Franjo Hanaman.

You’ve all heard of Nikola Tesla, a Croatian-born scientist, and inventor that changed the course of the modern world. In the era of big scientifical inventions, many Croats who were studying abroad and showed their capabilities to influential members of society are the ones responsible for the technologies we use every day.

But another Croatian has also left his mark in the world of science and electricity – Franjo Hanaman. Originally from Drenovci in Slavonia, Hanaman left his homeland to go study in Vienna. Graduated in Vienna in 1899, where he was in 1903-12. elaborating the process of producing tungsten carbide threads and their application in an electric bulb with Alexander Justom. Thanks to the high melting point, tungsten threads, unlike previous bulbs, could heat up to a higher temperature and thus achieve greater luminous efficiency. This invention was of great importance because it was finally based on economical lighting using electricity.

A Lightbulbs are made by Franjo Hanaman


In the period of 1911 until 1915. Hanaman led the Institute of Materials Testing in Vienna and received a doctorate in Berlin in 1913. While coming back to Croatia, he got employed at the Technical University of Zagreb where he was elected a docent in 1920 and a regular professor of inorganic chemical technology in 1922, when he founded the first engineering institute, the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry and Metallurgy. Prior to his teaching career, newer and more sophisticated lightbulbs were made by General Electric who had previously redeemed patent rights, also paying a part to Hanaman and Justom.

Lightbulbs made by Franjo Hanaman replaced the previous charcoal bulb was a turning point in the production of lighting fixtures. His invention of tungsten carbide was also used in the advancement of early diodes and triodes while still in the form of vacuum tubes.
Without these inventions, we wouldn’t have it so much easier and cheaper when it comes to artificial lighting.

Famous Croats

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