Archives of Memories: Presentations of the History of Novi Bečej through Anecdotes, Photographs and Untold Stories

Breathe life into the forgotten stories of Novi Bečej through our rich collection of articles dedicated to people and events from the past. Travel through the ages, exploring the colorful array of historical moments that shaped our city. Here, memories and reality meet, bringing old streets, stories and events to life through interesting anecdotes, untold legends and rare photographs. Experience Novi Bečej from a new angle, through the eyes of the past that shaped our present, while we try to preserve the spirit and heritage that makes our city unique.

Ognjeslav Kostović (1851-1916), Inventor and Constructor

Ognjeslav KostovićIn the now dilapidated house at 6 Žarko Zrenjanin Street (next to the municipal office) in Novi Bečej, the noble Kostović family once lived. Ognjeslav's grandfather, Jovan, came to Vranjevo as a grain merchant and, through his origins and connections, amassed significant wealth for that time. His son Stevan, Ognjeslav's father, was born in Vranjevo and continued the grain trading business. Building grain warehouses by the Tisa River, he exported Banat wheat through his export-trading business in Budapest across the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. According to research by M. Stanisavljev, it is noted that Stevan's sons, Ognjeslav and Vladislav, were raised in the Orthodox faith, while his daughters, Rozalija, Gizela, and Ester, were raised in the Catholic faith, as their mother, Jelisaveta (Eržebet) Dorner, followed that denomination.

Ognjeslav was born in 1851 in Wiesbaden, Austria. He completed primary school and high school in Pest, where he developed a keen interest in technology. Guided by his father, he was directed towards managing a ship and trading in grain. His father even bought him a ship named "Sloga," and while sailing to Odessa, Ognjeslav wanted to offer his submarine plans to the Russians. Impressed by the country, he decided to stay permanently. In the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/78, he suffered an eye injury but emerged with the rank of captain in the imperial army, a significant achievement for that time.

After the war, he lived in Petrograd, where he married Anastasia Petrov, the daughter of a wealthy Russian manufacturer. They had eight children, of whom only three daughters (Maria, Zora, and Evgenija) survived to adulthood, as Anastasia passed away at the age of 42.

Ognjeslav, growing up in Pest and Novi Bečej, was known for his fascination with Jules Verne. While living in Petrograd, he had his workshop where he personally constructed his inventive devices. As a dedicated inventor, he gained recognition in the military circles of imperial Russia. He was never materialistic and believed that his inventions contributed to the development of humanity. In Russia, he maintained traditions from his homeland, especially during Slavic days, with the Kostović family celebrating St. Nicholas as their patron saint.

As a renowned Russian scientist, he frequently communicated with the famous scientist Mendeleev. During that time, he often visited Novi Bečej, his hometown.

His research and scientific work were focused on aviation. He was enthusiastic about the construction and design of aircraft. In 1879, he designed a dirigible (airship) with a rigid structure and a gasoline engine of 80 horsepower. Additionally, he worked on inventions related to lightweight aviation materials, creating a substance called "arborit" for aircraft construction. He also explored the idea of constructing an aerial torpedo and built a hydroplane. Perhaps his most significant contribution to science was the construction of a gasoline engine with electric ignition.

Few Novi Bečej residents are aware that a scientist of such caliber lived in their town, and it is deemed fitting to place a commemorative plaque on the house where he resided.

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