In the 19th century, Rijeka was put in the centre of the industrially developed world thanks to the invention of the torpedo.
The aim of the proverb and concept of “Torpedo yourself to Rijeka” is to create a recognizable souvenir and brand that would have both local and international stories. With the slogan, the aim is to promote the historic industrial city of Rijeka, which is becoming an unavoidable tourist destination in Croatia.
“Torpedo yourself to Rijeka” is a story of a couple from Rijeka, Bernarda Mrak and Nenad Kinkela, who have great admiration for the torpedo and historical and industrial heritage of Rijeka. Their story begins in 2020, the year Rijeka is the European Capital of culture.
“We aspire to give our appreciation to this great discovery and to present to our citizens and everyone that will visit Rijeka this technological worldwide famous invention. Our focus is not on its destructive effects. It’s about the discovery of the torpedo which leads to other new approaches and inventions of technology,” Bernarda explains.
The torpedo technical factory is home to many technical innovations and inventions. Also, it was the place of pioneer technical research. Some of the research involved aerodynamic and acoustic testing. It bears to mention that the first sound-proofing test happened at this factory.
This story started when the major of Rijeka Giovanni Cota (1872 to 1896) introduced Ivan Luppis, a retired naval officer, and British engineer and company director (Stabilimento Tecnico Fiumano) Robert Whitehead. Luppis and Whitehead put their heads together and in 1866 they developed the mine ship, which was the first self-propelled or “locomotive” torpedo ever developed. Rijeka gained a big reputation due to technological development.
By 1943, the factory reached the production of 160 torpedos monthly. 100 years after the first experiments, the factory ceased producing torpedoes. By 1990, the factory turned to the production of engines for ships and tractors.
“Our goal is, with our unique souvenir, to create a reminder of the torpedo for all who will visit our city and offer an unforgettable experience of Rijeka. Souvenirs can be ordered on our Facebook page. Soon in souvenir shops in Rijeka people will be able to buy a T-shirt (both English and Croatian versions) and magnets packed in special cylinders with torpedo stories and QR codes of our Museum of Rijeka that will lead them to torpedo exhibition. We hope that despite the Coronavirus, tourists will soon arrive in Rijeka and emerge in our torpedo story. We plan to cooperate with local partners and offer culture, fun, leisure, and gastronomy of our region,” Bernarda adds.