Czech Footprint: Czech Tweaks

Czech Footprint: Czech Tweaks

Czechs are a nation of do-it-yourselfers and inventors. What improvements and Simply Clever solutions have they come up with?

23. 11. 2018 Škoda World Heritage

Czech Footprint

This year, the Czech Republic is celebrating the centenary of Czech statehood, with Czechoslovakia having been founded as an independent state on 28 October 1918. The ŠKODA brand – its history closely connected with that of the Czech Republic and Czechoslovakia – is also commemorating this anniversary. ŠKODA Storyboard is marking this occasion with a series of articles entitled Czech Footprints. This series traces Czech influences that have achieved world renown, some of which are not widely known to have roots in the Czech Republic.



Sugar cubes

Until the mid-19th century, sugar was transported and sold in the form of sugarloaves, which were around a foot long. Then, Jakub Kryštof Rad – the manager of a refinery in Dačice – decided he could make a small improvement: he would produce small cubes of sugar. He then went on to sell these little white blocks of refined sugar in boxes. Most importantly, he patented his improvement in 1842, earning Dačice and himself worldwide fame.


Mechanical pencils

An ordinary pencil is fine, but a mechanical pencil, that’s an instrument worthy of a decent designer. Press the cap at the top and the jaws release the lead, which you can easily replace with a harder type or a new one. What if you need to sharpen it? Just unscrew the cap – it’s a sharpener from the other side. Though invented back in the 1930s, this ingeniously simple concept did not start to sell en masse until the 1950s, when the wooden body was replaced with aluminium. Mechanical pencils are now sold in 80 countries worldwide.


Snap fasteners

A famous article made by the Koh-i-Noor company in Prague. In 1903, Hynek Puc constructed a mechanical stamping machine for the mass production of snap fasteners. But what is a snap fastener exactly? Take a look around your trousers or jacket and you’re sure to find a few. It is a two-part push-button that holds firm until you undo it and will not fall or be ripped off.


Remoska ovens

A Remoska is a revolutionary electric oven with lid-mounted heating that will never overcook anything. The principle behind it was devised by Oldřich Humota in the middle of the last century. The oven was initially named after him and his collaborators – HUT (Humota, Uher, Tyburec). However, their business was nationalised under the Communists and absorbed by REMOS (this company’s name is an acronym based on the Czech words for inspection, electrical goods, assembly, repair, and service), hence the oven became known as the “remoska” in popular parlance. Several million were produced up to 1991. The ovens are now manufactured by REMOSKA s.r.o. and feature a licensed Teflon surface. Over 50% of output is exported.


Ruchadlo Ploughs

A story crying out to be made into a film: cousins Václav and František Veverka would toil all day long in the fields until they had the idea of building a second-generation plough. František was a farmer, Václav a blacksmith. Their plough, called a ruchadlo, could till and turn the soil simultaneously, so that the lower layer would rise to the surface and vice versa. The cousins did not patent their design and died impoverished and forgotten. Their idea was copied far and wide, and it was not until 1883 that the original idea was accorded to them.


Building on the tradition established by these craftsmen and inventors, Czech carmaker ŠKODA’s designers also deliver innovative solutions so ŠKODA cars incorporate a host of Simply Clever features.

ŠKODAs love Simply Clever features.
Take a look at some of them here: