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Legacy of genius Croatian-American inventor Mario Puratić at “Kuća od 5 dolori”

Mario Puratić Fishery Interpretation Center

Mario Puratić Fishery Interpretation Center

5 Dollar House –  Construction of the Mario Puratić Fishery Interpretation Center has begun

Earlier this year, the construction of the Fishery Interpretation Center dedicated to one of the greatest Croatian inventors, and certainly one of the most recognized Croatian inventors in the world, Mario Puratić, began on the island of Brač.

The man whose invention changed the world of fishing, which is why he was declared inventor of the year in the USA in 1975, will have an impressive center with a permanent exhibition dedicated to his work and work on his native Brač by the end of the year.

“Kuća od 5 dolori” (5 Dollar House) is the name of the Center that comes from the exceptional historical fact that the ship with Puratić’s winch is depicted on the Canadian 5 dollar banknote that was put into circulation in 1972, which speaks of the greatness and significance of the inventor from Sumartin on the island of Brač. 

Located near his birthplace in Sumartin, the Center will primarily bring visitors closer to the significance of his inventions and preserve the memory of Mario Puratić by telling his incredible life story.

Mario Puratić was born in 1904 in a family of farmers and fishermen, and in 1938 he left his native Sumartin for America, where in search of the open sea he set off for California and accepted a job on tunnel hunters and trawlers.

The big catch that fishermen always hoped for, in those days also meant heavy nets that required a dozen strong men to pull them. Extremely hard work was the source of Puratić’s idea about the construction of a device that would make it easier for fishermen to remove the net from the sea.

Soon the man from Brač would construct a device that became known as the Power Block – a simple and very efficient device for pulling out fishing nets of seines and pullers, i.e. a pulley with a grooved wheel covered with rubber. This invention was equivalent in fishing to the invention of electricity.

A job that used to take 8 to 10 people could now be done just as quickly with just 5 or 6 people. This made the arduous work of fishermen forever easier, and provided thousands of people with jobs in the production and installation of Power Blocks.

All this will be presented by the new interpretation center in Sumartin, which is being built with grants from the European Union and the Republic of Croatia in the amount of almost HRK 3 million.

“The construction project of the “Mario Puratić” fishing interpretation center represents one of the largest investments in public tourist infrastructure in our area. With this project, the destination will receive innovative tourist content that presents the rich historical and cultural heritage of the local community and its traditional values as a whole. The project will raise the quality of the tourist offer in the destination to a completely new level, and we are sure it will attract a large number of visitors. We believe that the Fishery Interpretive Center dedicated to Mario Puratić will become an indispensable point on the tourist map of the island of Brač,” said Nikolina Tonšić, director of the tourist board of the municipality of Selca.

The first floor is designed as an exhibition hall with interactive exhibits, while the attic is designed as a multifunctional hall where modular, collapsible furniture for lectures and workshops and showcases with traditional tools are provided.

Mario Puratić Fishery Interpretation Center

Mario Puratić Fishery Interpretation Center

It was from the philosophy of Mario Puratić that the idea arose that by turning the pulley, the visitor discovers the content that is presented by lowering and raising the panels inside the wall coverings.

The openings that reveal the contents derive from the stylized forms of the ship’s windows.

“The ICR Mario Puratić project is the second infrastructural project of the municipality of Selca oriented towards the development of social infrastructure, which is mostly, or entirely, financed by EU funds. Through its implementation, the municipality of Selca gets a valuable tourist product with added value, with the help of which in an interesting and innovative way, using new of digital technologies in a representative space interprets the figure and work of our most famous inventor. In this way, we acknowledge Puratić and bring him closer to our visitors with the aim of branding a destination that really has something to offer and show its visitors. In the coming period, we are also planning the implementation of valuable projects that will help raise standards and improve the tourist and public infrastructure, for which we are looking for funds in the upcoming program period and tenders that have already been announced,” said the Mayor of Selca, Ivan Marijančević.

Mario Puratić Fishery Interpretation Center

Mario Puratić Fishery Interpretation Center

Mario Puratić’s invention fundamentally changed the efficiency of fishing on a global scale and became mandatory equipment for thousands of fishing boats around the world. The Peruvian fish catch was increased three times by its use, and the big ocean tuna fishermen in the USA were saved from ruin. The invention is still in use today on fishing boats around the world, as the original version has been refined over the years.

Puratić returned to his homeland from America for the first time in the early 1960s and since then has visited it regularly, gathering relatives and friends on those occasions. He was remembered as a most generous, energetic, pleasant and charming man, who said that he owed his success to “laziness” and not to intelligence. 

All this will now be available to thousands of visitors, as many of them are expected to visit the fishing center on Brač every year.

The project partners are the municipality of Selca and the Tourist Board of the municipality of Selca.

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