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Josef Ressel - Famous Inventor

: Josef Ressel
: 29-June-1793
: 9-October-1857
: Czech Republic
: University of Vienna (1812–1814)
: German Bohemian Forester and Inventor

About Inventor

Joseph Ludwig Franz Ressel was an a German Bohemian forester and inventor who designed one of the first working ship's propellers.

Ressel was born in Chrudim, Bohemia (then part of Habsburg Monarchy, now the Czech republic). His father Anton Herrmann Ressel was a native German speaker, while his mother Marie Anna Konvi?ková was a native Czech. He studied in the Linz Gymnasium, ?eské Bud?jovice artillery school, University of Vienna and the Mariabrunn Forestry Academy at Mariabrunn Monastery near Vienna.

He worked for the Austrian government as a forester in the more southern parts of the monarchy, including in Motovun, Istria (modern-day Croatia). His work was to secure a supply of quality wood for the Navy.He worked in Landstrass (Kostanjevica on the Krka river in Carniola in modern-day Slovenia), where he tested his ship propellers for the first time. In 1821 he was transferred to Trieste (modern-day Italy), the biggest port of the Austrian Empire, where his tests were successful. He was awarded a propeller patent in 1827. He modified a steam-powered boat Civetta by 1829 and test-drove it in the Trieste harbor at six knots before the steam conduits exploded. Because of this misfortune, the police banned further testing. The explosion was not caused by the tested propeller as many believed at the time.

As early as 1804, the American John Fitch is credited with a screw propeller, which was unsuccessful. In 1836, the Englishman Francis Pettit Smith tested a screw propeller similar to Ressel's. The first transatlantic journey of a ship powered by a screw-propeller was by the SS Great Britain in 1845. Propeller design stabilized in the 1880s.

Besides having been called "the inventor of the propeller", he was also called the inventor of the steamship and a monument to him in a park in Vienna commemorates him as “the one and only inventor of the screw propeller and steam shipping”. He was also commemorated on Austria's 500 Schilling banknote in the mid 1960's (P139), which shows him on the front and the ship "Civetta" on the back.

Among other Ressel's inventions are pneumatic post and ball and cylinder bearings. He was granted numerous patents during his life.

He died in Ljubljana (present Slovenia), and was buried there in the St. Christopher Cemetery (now called "Navje Cemetery") in the Bežigrad district.


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