The Slovenia Times

Bled hosting exhibition honouring prolific inventor Florjančič


The exhibition has been put up at the Festival Hall in Bled, Florjančič's home town, and will run until 25 March, when it will wrap up the museum's In Case You Didn't Know project dedicated to raising awareness about intellectual property.

Out of Florjančič's many inventions, only 43 made it to the stage of production, a feat requiring a lot of funding and the right connections.

He developed the nail polish brush for the Lancaster cosmetics company, while the perfume atomiser was developed in a years long collaboration with Ilhamy Hussein Pasha, an associate of King Farouk of Egypt, according to a 2011 article about Florjančič by the BBC.

He also developed a cigarette lighter with rolling ignition on the side of the lighter box for Dunhill.

But he also worked on many inventions that never came to life or worked on inventions that were later perfected by other. He designed the original car air bag but could not make it inflate without exploding.

In a similar vein, he developed the first plastic zipper. It tested fine in the wash, but as soon as the garment was ironed, the zipper became sealed together.

At the end, his team was drowning their sorrow in champagne that they had gotten to celebrate whet they hopes would be their great invention, Florjančič also told the BBC.

Born into a wealthy hotelier family in Bled on 5 March 1919, Florjančič has led an exciting life. He told the STA in an interview ahead of the exhibition that he was lucky to have always been at the right place at the right time.

As a youth, he was a ski jumper and he even competed in the 1936 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany.

Living in the German-occupied Bled, he expected that he would get mobilised into the German military during World War II and decided to flee to Switzerland.

He spent the following years in Switzerland and Monte Carlo, rubbing elbows with the likes of Marlene Dietrich, Jacques Cousteau and even Winston Churchill, he told the BBC.

Later on, he moved to Villach, Austria, not far from his native Bled. He moved back home 15 years ago because he promised his mother that he would come home to die.

Although he has moved into a retirement home, he has remained very active. He said that an uncle's butler read his fortune from a coffee cup a long time ago, saying that he would live to be as many years old as there are stairs on the Bled island, which was 99.

"I was already afraid that I was going to die but then they found another stair under the water surface. And then there's the stairs leading to the wishing bell, so there is some reserve there," Florjančič joked in an interview with the STA.


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