Lightning Rod

The lightning rod was invented by Prokop Diviš, who placed the first one in his garden in Přímětice. It was a system of 400 grounded metal spikes. Benjamin Franklin is also the inventor of the lightning rod as he conducted similar experiments around 1750, but did not build a single-point grounded lightning rod in Philadelphia until 1760.

Boat Propeller

Czech-Austrian inventor Josef Ressel designed a screw propeller with multiple blades fastened around a conical base and successfully used it on a steamboat. This new method of propulsion was an improvement over the paddlewheel, and it is still used to this day.

Pilsner Beer

The Měšťanský pivovar Plzeň, or Citizens’ Brewery was founded in 1839 by Plzeň officials – today it is known as Pilsner Urquell. The brewery recruited Bavarian brewer Josef Groll, and the rest is history. Using local ingredients and paler malts, he presented his first batch of pale lager on the 5th of October in 1842. The combination of Plzeň's remarkably soft water, local hops, brighter malts, and Bavarian-style lagering produced a clear, golden beer. Na zdraví (cheers)!

Sugar Cube

In 1841, Juliana Radová tried to chip off a piece of sugar from a sugarloaf and injured her finger. Sugar was inconveniently obtained by using a hammer, pliers, or crowbar to chip away at the hard loaves of refined sweetness. Mrs. Radová suggested to her husband Jakub Kryštof Rada, the director of the refinery and an enthusiastic inventor, to come up with a simpler way. In 1843, the humble sugar cube was born.

The Word 'Robot'

Karel Čapek is responsible for first using the word 'robot' to describe an artificial person in his 1920 science fiction play "R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots." However, the actual accreditation according to Karel belongs to his brother Josef Čapek.


Silon is a polyamide fiber, which is most often found in nylons. It was invented by Otto Wichterle in the Baťa laboratory. In order to keep the invention secret from the Germans, the experiments were carried out only on a small scale.


Semtex is a general-purpose plastic explosive that is used in commercial blasting, demolition, and military applications. Semtex was invented by Stanislav Brebera and Radim Fukátko in Czechoslovakia. Semtex quickly gained a reputation for being a highly effective and destructive explosive after its launch.

Contact Lenses

After losing funding for the development of lens casting from hydrophilic gels, Otto Wichterle continued his research and work at home. He constructed a device from his child’s Merkur Kit that cast contact lenses, powered by a bicycle dynamo.