Timely inventions


Peter Petroff produced plenty of practical products.

Well here’s a fact I bet you didn’t know about Bulgaria: the digital watch was invented by a Bulgarian.

Peter Petroff (1919 – 2003) was an inventor-engineer-scientist-adventurer who covered an awful lot of ground during his rather varied career. He modernised the catamaran Gemini II, which set a world record for speed in water in 1967 (and reportedly now serves as a floating orphanage in Central America). He then used his experience of working on technology products at NASA to develop the world’s first wireless heart monitor.

A year later in 1969, he invented the first digital wristwatch called the Pulsar, and then completely changed field again; in 1975, Petroff and his sons founded ADS Environmental Services, the first maker of computerised pollution monitoring equipment for the world market.

It seems slightly ironic that the digital watch was invented by someone from a country where it seems normal to turn up late to meetings… and also that more than 25 years after inventing pollution monitoring equipment, Bulgaria has the highest levels of air pollution in Europe and trails only behind Armenia and Romania in the world rankings for annual death rate from poor air quality (437 deaths per million people).


About sozofia

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