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František Křižík (1847–1941)

    Naturevolume 160page15 (1947) | Download Citation



    Although he died in occupied Prague as recently as 1941, Křižík's centenary falls this year. Born of poor parents on July 8, 1847, he was as much a man of science as an engineer. His aim in life was neither riches nor fame, but he had a constant desire to invent, to improve and to lessen the drudgery of manual labour. Obviously he had to seek a career in electrical engineering, and as a youth he attracted attention by installing a satisfactory telegraph system on the various private Central European railways that were then being constructed. As a railway engineer Křižík had plenty of scope for his inventive talent, and in 1878 he introduced a block signal system designed to prevent accidents. In 1880 he produced an electric are lamp that gave better and more constant illumination. In the following year, opportunity was taken to show the lamp at the Paris Exhibition, where it gained first prize. Gold medals were also awarded for it at the Munich and Vienna Exhibitions of 1883, and these lamps were soon being made in Britain and used for lighting the streets of London, Paris and elsewhere. Křižík now gave up his railway appointment at Pilsen and established an electro-technical works at Prague for making not only lamps, but also dynamos and other electrical apparatus and machines. He experimented with an electrically driven train as early as 1891, the year of the Prague Exhibition, for which he was both architect and engineer. His illuminated fountain and electric railway (the precursor of many European tramways) provoked wide comment and largely contributed to the success of the exhibition.

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