When you think of Rijeka, Croatia, what comes to mind? Perhaps its stunning coastline, vibrant culture, or delicious seafood. But did you know that Rijeka holds a unique place in history as the birthplace of one of the most game-changing inventions in naval warfare? Yes, you heard it right. The torpedo, a weapon that revolutionized long-range coastal defense, was invented right here in this charming city.
Old Torpedo Factory / Depositphotos.com
Groundbreaking Invention That Put Rijeka on the Map as a Hub of High-Technology Engineering
The story begins with Giovanni (Ivan) Biagio Luppis, a retired naval officer and resident of Rijeka. Concerned about the need for a powerful coastal defense mechanism, Luppis conceived an idea that he aptly named "the coastal savior." However, despite his visionary thinking, he lacked the technical expertise and resources to bring his concept to life. Fate, however, had something special in store for him.
Enter Robert Whitehead, a British engineer who happened to be managing a steamship manufacturing company in Rijeka at the time. When Luppis learned about Whitehead's skills and knowledge, he seized the opportunity and reached out to him. Their collaboration was nothing short of magical. Together, they transformed Luppis' idea into a tangible reality, giving birth to the prototype of what Whitehead would call the "torpedo."
In 1866, the first tests of the torpedo took place, forever changing the face of naval warfare. The success of this groundbreaking invention put Rijeka on the map as a hub of high-technology engineering. As the demand for torpedoes grew, so did the factory in western Rijeka, reaching its peak output of 160 torpedoes per month by 1943. The city became synonymous with cutting-edge engineering and innovation, making Rijeka proud of its contribution to the world.
However, like many stories of industrial success, the torpedo factory faced challenging times. In the 1990s, the company went bankrupt. But the story doesn't end here. Almost 157 years after the first torpedo tests, we are witnessing a new launching again, but this time in a more creative and noble-minded way.
Writing Instruments Redefined with Croatian Mastery
In 2014, three artisans, Tonči Grabušić, the owner of the renowned ''Zlatarna Grabušić'' jewelers, and the Balen brothers, Valter and Leonard, proprietors of the esteemed "Tokarija Balen" Turner's, joined forces to create something extraordinary – a GB Torpedo writing instruments.
This unique collection of exquisite writing instruments pays tribute to the game-changing invention that revolutionized naval warfare. Limited to just 1886 pieces, these pens—fountain pen, roller ball, and ballpoint pen—commemorate the historic year when an impossible dream became a reality.
The GB Torpedo pens are meticulously crafted with a perfect fusion of precision mechanics, artistic design, and goldsmith's mastery. They embody an independent spirit, an unwavering quest for perfection, and the beauty of simplicity. What truly sets them apart is their handmade production—each detail, except for the hull, is meticulously crafted by hand.
Adding to their uniqueness, the pens feature a propeller adorned with a Swarovski stone, available in white, ruby red, or sapphire blue. This sounds pretty good, don't you think?
To complement the GB Torpedo, it comes encased in a luxurious wooden box crafted from a noble walnut tree, which design pays homage to a torpedo launch pad with intricate bore details. Not only does the box serve as a protective casing for the pen, but its conical cut-out also functions as a stylish pen holder. However, that's not all! Inside the box, you'll discover a delightful surprise—a USB stick containing a remarkable 30-minute documentary titled "The First Torpedo." This captivating film reveals the lesser-known global story of the Rijeka torpedo, adding a fascinating layer of history to this exceptional collection.
GB Torpedo not only carries on the legacy of this remarkable invention but also forges a connection with another great Croatian innovator, Penkala. So we could say they are writing new chapters in a book of Great Croatian Inventions. If you want to own this unique piece, head over to the GB Torpedo website, and make it a reality.
GB Torpedo, Unsplash.com, Depositphotos.com, Pixabay.com