Written by: Andrea Marić
The openness of this city toward everything new and different, as well as the dynamics of life so characteristic of living by the sea, have resulted in numerous innovations that have come to life precisely in Rijeka. This city is traditionally open to new people and ideas, while it was marked the most by its glorious industrial past. Some of the globally important innovations and technological achievements date back to that time. For example, at the beginning of the 16th century, a Glagolitic Šimun Benja Kožičić founded the first printing house in Rijeka and printed books, thus initiating the cultural development of the city. The grand 19th century was marked by the industrial revolution, bringing the first steam engine to Rijeka in 1835, which enabled the production in the paper factory, whose initiators were globally recognised for its quality. In the mid-19th century, another original invention came to life in Rijeka – torpedo. This is the most important invention of Rijeka and has remained inexhaustible motivation for innovators until this day. According to available sources, in the period from 1866 to 1943, 20.323 torpedoes were produced in Rijeka.
From that time we should mention the scientists Peter Salcher and Sandor Riegler who, in 1886, were the first to succeed in capturing, by a photographic method, the phenomenon that occurs when the sound barrier is broken, thus opening the new scientific and experimental field which has remained important to this day.
A strong link between science and economy contributed to the development of Rijeka’s shipbuilding industry that reached its peak during the 19th and 20th century. At Rijeka’s shores the art of shipbuilding has been made and unrivalled military and commercial ships have been built.
Even today Rijeka’s innovators win important awards in both Croatian and international competitions. To encourage their work, many innovator associations and companies have been founded, aiming at promoting the environment suitable for encouraging, developing and creating new products and technologies. The City of Rijeka tends to connect craftsmen, small business owners and entrepreneurs with authors of new technical ideas and support the work of innovators, particularly young people as one of the pillars of economic development.
Without a doubt, a modern approach to the development of University and its synergy with entrepreneurs will, in the near future, result again in major findings and innovations that will enrich the life of a modern man and will originate in Rijeka.