Permanent Display 38. Sensations from the Beginning of the 20th Century
The beginning of the 20th century was marked by various individual prospects and by events symbolic of the New Age.
The city was aroused from its everyday life in 1901 by the passage of the first car, owned by trader and sportsman Ferdinand Budicki.
The curious, and devotees of modern novelties, were able to experience moving pictures from the world in Zagreb as early as 1896. The first film show, “Cinematograph - Living photographs” was held, with permission from the City Council for an eleven day presentation, in the Kolo Hall on October 8. The papers covered this new medium that was to characterise the 20th century: “This is a very interesting thing and we recommend it to the attention of our public.” Large and interested audiences were soon able to watch “new Zagreb scenes” and at the end of 1906 “pictures from the unforgettable 1st All-Sokol jamboree”. In the same year the first permanent Cinematograph “The Pathé Bioscope” was opened, and in 1907 the “Charitable Cinematograph of the Cyril and Method Masons”, the “Edison”, and “Apollo” theatre - the first purpose-built cinema, opened its door.
In 1902 the spires of the completed cathedral rose aloft, and in 1903 gazes were directed to the skies when the astronomical observatory was opened on Popov Tower. To honour this event, the newly discovered planetoid no. 589 was given the name Croatia in Heidelberg in 1906.
In 1905 the city saw the building of the first four-storey building, known as Elza Fluid because of the bizarre advertisement on the façade – a great bottle of the famed miracle panacea of the same name, of the chemist and owner of the building Eugen Feller.
Then came a most unusual attraction – the first flight of the Turul balloon over Zagreb in 1905. The crew, with the pilot and the bravest of Zagrebians, shot the first photographs of Zagreb and environs from the air during the six hour flight. Half Zagreb cheered them on. Budicki, aeronautical and automotive pioneer, followed them in his Opel; in the following year he was to take to the skies himself in the Excelsior balloon, heading for Kvarner, photographing Zagreb and all the areas he flew over.
Zagreb resident Slavoljub Penkala achieved world fame for his invention of the first propelling pencil. In 1906 he registered his patent no. 36946 with the Royal Hungarian Patent Office, under his surname of PENKALA. The invention has not changed since then, and the popular penkala has become a universal necessity, as has the fountain pen, his invention of 1907.