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DEGEN, Jakob

* 27. 2. 1760, Liedertswil, Switzerland
† 28. 8. 1848, Vienna, Austria

Inventor (Ornithopter, banknote printing)

In 1770 D. came to Vienna, where his father moved as silk ribbons weaver. In Vienna D. initially continued his father's craft and then from 1778 dealt with clockmaker's trade. In 1792 he became a citizen of Vienna and a master clockmaker. He was engaged in an aviation technology and performed experiments in this field. In 1808 he built an ornithopter. Its wings had valves, which were closed while swinging down. After unsuccessful attempts he installed counterweights on aircraft that was connected to cord and rollers and thus provided additional buoyancy. He attracted the attention at royal riding school on 18th April 1808, when he made an attempt to fly. He then improved the lifting power by replacing the counterweight with a hot air balloon which was tethered to a machine. Thus he carried out a number of publicized ascents. First such experiments were carried out in November 1808 in Prater. In 1810 an attempt was carried out in the presence of the Emperor in Luxemburg. After one hour flight D. managed to fly to Vösendorf. This was followed by the demonstrations of his flying machine in Berlin (1811) and Paris (1812). He stayed in Paris until 1815, where he worked as a clockmaker, while continuing to perform his flight experiments. But he had no luck in this. Little public interest, which was the result of the political situation, only contributed to his failure. After returning to Vienna he decided to abandon his aviation-technical experiments and to devote himself to printing books. In this field, he constructed the first Guilloche printing machine and a method for making banknotes with two-coloured print, which was evolved from the Congreve process. The Austrian National Bank started using this process in 1820. In the process D. used metal dye holders, which served as blocks and were part of a one and only printing model. One was able to lift the individual dye holders independent of one another above the press area, pile up different colours and then drop back to the surface. With such a form one could get a multicoloured image in a single printing process. Consequently, the use of this procedure did not cause any errors, which generally occurred in normal multi-colour press with larger blocks, where every block was used in each procedure. Using this process made it quite difficult to counterfeit banknotes. The Austrian National Bank employed D. as a foreman between 1822 and 1842. His invention is still the basis for the printing of banknotes and securities worldwide.

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Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva