The Clever Root

Spring 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 30 of 84

EXPLORING THE INGENIOUS INVENTIONS THAT HAIL FROM HUNGARY by Izzy Watson 1938 Not long after Hungar- ian László József Bíró patented the indis- pensable ballpoint pen in 1938, pro- lific mathematician John von Neumann pioneered early con- cepts of computing, including improved methods of memory and program storage, which helped pave the way for modern computers. 1826 In Hungary, one of the most popular beverages in sum- mer is fröccs, a cocktail that blends white or rosé wine with soda water. While the simple drink is replicated in many countries today, the first version surfaced in Budapest, where seltzer water was also invented by Ányos Jedlik in 1826. The story goes that during a wine tasting, Jedlik pre- pared his favorite beverage with one part seltzer and two parts wine, calling it a "spritzer." However, his friend Mihály Vörösmarty— a great Hungarian novelist and veritable patriot— didn't like the German mon- iker and renamed it fröccs, a much more Hungarian- sounding denomination. 1974 While drinking fröccs on a summer after- noon at the shores of Lake Balaton, you can tinker with a Rubik's cube or Magic cube, developed by Hungar- ian inventor Erno " Ru- bik in 1974. But if you prefer to solve your puzzles by candle- light, you're welcome to do so thanks to the contributions of János Irinyi, a native of the former Hungarian town Albis (now part of Romania) who invented the safety match in the 1800s. 1937 Hungary's most vital contribution to the nutritional realm may very well be the discovery of vitamin C—which earned well-known Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi a Nobel Prize in 1937—but Hungary's most ingenious gastronomic innova- tions have perhaps been those related to winemaking. 1838 This year, we cele- brate what would be the 180th birthday of famous grape breed- er János Máthiasz, known as the savior of the vineyards and wineries of Tokaj wine region region (see sidebar) when it was struck by a phyl- loxera epidemic. The historic wine region of Tokaj has been un- der protection since 1737, when a Royal Decree declared the area to be a closed wine region, the first of its kind. TRAVELING HUNGARY History Makers Pens, matches, seltzer water, Rubik's cubes, computers, vitamin C—they're things we fre- quently use in our everyday lives that make us healthier and more efficient, entertained, or informed. But they have another thing in common, as well: These items can all trace their origin or part of their lineage to Hungary, the home of many creative minds and inventors through the ages. Join The Clever Root on a time-hop through history as we explore inventions with Hun- garian roots! ■cr Tokaji 101 One of Hungary's most well-known wines, Tokaji Aszú, hails from the region; during harvest, the aszú (the Hungarian word for botrytized grapes, or those affected by noble rot) berries are collected one by one before they're soaked in fermenting wine for one to two days. After pressing, the wine is fermented and aged for at least three years. Those who sip this nectar for the first time may be inclined to agree that the greatest inventions of all can be found in the natural world. 3 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Clever Root - Spring 2018