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BOŽEK, Josef

* 28. 2. 1782, Bjelostok, Poland
† 21. 10. 1835, Prague, Czech Republic

mechanic, inventor, watchmaker

Coming from a milling family, B. already showed great interest in mechanics and physics at the lower secondary school and gymnasium in Těšín. He thus already made around forty models of different machines and technical devices as a gymnasium student. In 1803, he left for Brno to continue his education in the field of mathematics and mechanics at the local Evangelical school under Christian Karl André. A year later, he set off for Prague on foot, with a model of a drapery device.
There he found employment as a skilful watchmaker and a maker of seals; he also manufactured watches and clocks of different sorts, such as pocket watches and pendulum clocks. One of these clocks was also purchased by the Prague astronomical observatory.
In addition to working, B. also attended lectures on mathematics and mechanics at the Polytechnic Institute, and lectures on philosophy and logic at the university. After spending a short time as a tutor with the family of Count Clam-Martinic, he was employed in 1813 by the Polytechnic Institute as a watchmaker and mechanic with an annual wage of three hundred ducats.
Here, B. was able to realise his idea and make a collection of models of machines and physical devices. He made models of different watches with his own hands, and was given the opportunity to participate in the manufacture of a steam machine, which was being manufactured at that time by Georg von →Buquoy at the Polytechnic Institute. At the same time, B. also participated in the manufacture of a steam machine with Franz Josef →Gerstner, and helped him to write the Handbook of Mechanics.
Enthusiastic about the different possibilities of the use of steam machines, B. constructed a steam-driven road vehicle, and a ship that was likewise propelled by a steam machine. The first successful run of this steam-driven two-seater took place in 1815, between 24th and 28th September in the Prague Stromovka Park. His trial run of a steamboat, carried out on 1st June 1817, on a side branch of the river Vltava, was not so fortunate. During a harsh storm and in the general confusion and panic, someone stole the cash box, which contained all the collected proceeds. This greatly worsened his already uncertain financial state and, in an act of depression, B. destroyed his steamboat. An illustration of the steamboat on a poster from 1817, which served as an invitation to the trial run, gives us an idea of this early construction. B. is therefore one of the pioneers of the use of the power of steam for sailing.
B. was still engaged in the watchmaker's trade. His workshop manufactured clocks for towers of great dimensions, small pocket watches, and scales and prostheses. Among others, he manufactured the mechanism of the clock on the tower of the home for the disabled in the Karlín district in Prague (1824). After 1826, B. once again took up projects in the field of transportation. He manufactured vehicles for the railway on the route České Budějovice – Linz, which were pulled by horses. These were double-track vehicles for transporting gravel during the construction of the railway, as well as four-wheeled goods wagons for the actual railway. He was occupied with this until his death.
B's sons, František and Romuald, followed his footpaths and left behind numerous machines and devices in the field of water management, the watchmaker's trade, theatre techniques, and music instruments.

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Izdelava spletnih strani:  Positiva