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Slovak parachute inventor forgotten

THE SLOVAK inventor of the parachute, Štefan Banič, died 70 years ago this month in his native town of Smolenice, but the municipality failed to organise any event to commemorate its most famous native and citizen.

Štefan Banič Štefan Banič (Source: TASR)

THE SLOVAK inventor of the parachute, Štefan Banič, died 70 years ago this month in his native town of Smolenice, but the municipality failed to organise any event to commemorate its most famous native and citizen.

Mayor Pavlína Hor-náčková said that the recent change in the mayoralty might be one of the reasons. She said the previous town leadership did not plan any event in Banič’s memory and that since she had taken up her post just shortly before Christmas, she told the SITA newswire that she had no time to prepare an appropriate event to mark the inventor's anniversary.

Banič invented not only the parachute but was also one of the discoverers of the Driny cave near Smolenice. He acquired the patent document for the parachute in the USA in August 1914 and discovered the Driny cave 15 years later along with a group of villagers.

Štefan Banič was born on November 23, 1870 in Smolenice. He trained to be a mason and in 1907 left to work in America.

In 1913 he completed the prototype of a parachute with a new construction which he personally tested. Even though he received the patent for inventing the parachute he did not get rich from it and after returning to his hometown he worked as master mason.

He died on January 2, 1941 and is buried at a local cemetery with a gravestone portraying a parachute over his grave. There is a memorial plaque on the house where he was born and in 2006 a monument featuring a bust of Banič was erected in front of the building of his former school.


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