Slavoljub Penkala man who invented the pen

Suzana Mustra By Suzana Mustra, 9th Apr 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Celebrities>Personalities

Who invented the pen and when?! Story of one of the famous inventors

Invention of the pen

His famous invention

Slavoljub Penkala

Eduard Penkala was born on April 20th,1871 in Liptovsky Mikulas (Liptószentmiklós), in Hungary (now Slovakia).
When he was born, no one could even imagine that the surname Penkala will become famous all over the world.
Eduard later, after falling in love with Zagreb (Croatia) will change his name in Slavoljub (literally in croatian it has a meaning of "the one who loves Slavic people). During his life he decided to take croatian citizenship .
Already as a child, Penkala demonstrated his interest in natural and technical sciences: physics, chemistry, theoretical and practical mechanics.
1892 begins to study medicine in Vienna, but he soon realized that was not what he wanted, and goes to the Royal Technical University in Dresden, where he graduated the chemical engineering in 1898.
During the University he was taking also violin lessons, where he met his future wife, pianist Emilia Stoffregen.

His life in Zagreb

After marriage the couple arrives in Zagreb and in their apartment Penkala will open his first workshop where he will also sell his inventions.
1906 begins cooperation with Edmund Moster and they create their own company called "Penkala-Moster". Together they started to build a new factory in today's Branimir Street, which was completed in 1911 under the name "Penkala-Edmund Moster"

Most famous invention
His invention of mechanical pencil which doesn't require sharpening, or pen, was registered under his name in almost all continents. But still, many people today do not know that this epochal invention was made by a citizen of Zagreb, and believe that the name pen comes from the English word "pen" (in croatian it is called penkala and in Italian penna)...all words are starting with "pen" and are easily connected to english word.

Penkala's pen

His invention has not changed during the time!
His invention of a mechanism which replaced a wooden pencil which always needed sharpening brought him a worldwide fame.
The success was huge. Only with he first ten samples or pen, from all the biggest European cities were arriving orders, and soon he produced something like 100,000 pens for individuals .
He made some further improvements inventing pens that can write in colours (red and blue).

Having achieved great success with the classic form, ing. Penkala came up with the idea that his pens can change some "style " producing silver pen for women, on a chain,that they could put around their necks also like a neckless.
For carpenters he designed flat, colored pencils, because they were needing those kind of pen for their professioal work.
Newspapers published pictures and articles about a pencil which requires no sharpening, which lasts long and slis suitable for every hand ...
Orders for different pen types arrived from all over Europe and even overseas.
At that time Penkala pencils and fountain pens were sold in more than 70 countries. The factory, which had 300 employees in 1911 expanded in 800 workers. Between 1912 and 1926 it was one of the largest factories in the world.

Some other inventions

Penkala counts around 80 inventions, in the fields of mechanics, chemistry, physics, aviation, etc., And are clear proof of his huge technical talent.
Here are some of them:

• mechanical pencil
• fountain pen
• thermos bottle
• rotary toothbrush
• ebonit
• laundry detergent
• pesticide
• xylolite used against parasites
• brakes for wagons
• manometer
• dynamometer
• special microphones

He also designed trademark for his company (in which it was employed 800 workers), a little man with huge ears and a pointed nose. It was his caricature.

Penkala loved nature and often with his son Eduard observed butterflies and birds. He was completely fascinated by the butterfly Neptis Lucilla and thanks to him, got the idea to construct an airplane in 1909. A year after Dragutin Novak, the first Croatian pilot, successfully took off and Neptis Lucilla (airplane with butterfly name) made its first flight.

Have you ever heard about Slavoljub Penkala?
100% Yes
0% No
1 person has voted in this poll.
Tragic end

The First World War interrupted the Penkala's research. Living conditions were very difficult, and he was more interested to sell his inventions and did not have time for new projects.
In 1919 he gets ill of malaria, stabbed by a mosquito.For ten days he had high temperatures and. Penkala was recovered but he managed to get well.
Suddenly he dies in Zagreb (Croatia ) on February 5, 1922 at the age of 51, after a business trip from which he returned with pneumonia.


Inventions, Inventor, Pen

Meet the author

author avatar Suzana Mustra
Suzana Mustra, born in Croatia,living in Italy Sardinia.
Author of Kindle Edition "The Shadows of Joy "

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Lesa Cote
13th Feb 2020 (#)

Assignment proofreading service is eager to assist the students. Visit

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?