On June 13rd, we celebrate Hungarian Inventors’ Day for the 20th time. Various countries have chosen different days to raise awareness about the importance of inventors for the welfare of society, to commemorate the contributions inventors make toward the advancement of science and technology, and to create a source of inspiration for the next generation of inventors.
In Hungary, initiated by the Association of Hungarian Inventors, June 13 had been chosen as the day of celebration that commemorates the date of June 13, 1941, when Albert Szent-Györgyi applied for a patent for his method of preparing products with a high and durable Vitamin C content.
Tungsram is connected in many ways to the Inventors’ Day. Zoltán Bay, director of the Tungsram Research Laboratory (1936-1948), was a true friend of Albert Szent-Györgyi, their friendship dating back to Bay’s time at the university in Szeged where Szent-Györgyi was professor for Medical Chemistry (1931-1945), and Bay for Theoretical Physics (1930-1936). They published several papers together. After WWII, by participating in the organization of the scientific community and through their public engagements, they strived for building up a democratic Hungary. One of Bay’s public engagements was the membership in the board of the National Alliance of Hungarian Inventors, a forerunner organization of the Association of Hungarian Inventors. The Alliance asked him to continue in this role on July 29, 1947 – probably not only due to his undisputable scientific achievements (such as the Moon radar experiment on February 6, 1946), but in view of his and Tungsram’s valuable international scientific and industrial relations, as well.
In 1936, Bay accepted CEO Lipót Aschner’s invitation for taking over the leadership of Tungsram Research Laboratory. Bay did so because – compared to the situation at the university – Tungsram provided much better creative scope for continuing and advancing scientific research. Thus it was that the opportunity of continuing his own research, the various laboratory units led by outstanding researchers, an experimental production unit, mass production facilities, all combined with agreements on technological exchange with leading companies in the lighting and telecommunication industry, together resulted in a fruitful cooperation of scientists from various fields and the acceleration of the innovation process from the level of scientific research to the level of practical use via new or improved products.
The Tungsram Group strives today for the establishment of a similar lively and productive knowledge center. Since 2018, Tungsram invested heavily in establishing contacts with universities and startups; the company plans to open an Open Innovation Center.
Zoltán Bay and Albert Szent-Györgyi returning from the USA to a visit in Hungary after 25 years, in 1973
Published in: In Memoriam Bay Zoltán (1900-1992). Budapest – Hódmezővásárhely – Szeged – Debrecen – Gyula, 1993. április 3-10. Source: Újpesti Helytörténeti Gyűjtemény