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Hungarian-Born Ventilator Inventor Engineer Dies

D&T
May 27, 2020

Renowned British engineer George Weisz, born in Hungary in 1929 as György Weisz, has passed away. He was also known as the father of Academy Award and Golden Globe Award actress Rachel Weisz.

As The Times notes in its obituary of George Weisz, "in 1972, aged 42, he invented a pioneering artificial ventilator pneumatically powered by its own oxygen cylinder. Today thousands of his Pneupac breathing machines are helping NHS intensive care units across the country to manage the coronavirus pandemic."

The paper also quotes the inventor who said in 2016 that “you have to think of what is unthinkable… because the unthinkable will happen and someone’s life depends on it.”

In its summary, the news site hvg.hu writes that the Weisz family moved to Britain before World War II in 1939. George started school in London at the age of ten, but from the very beginning he was most interested in physics, although his mother, who was an art dealer, also instilled a love of the arts at home. With a recent degree from the University of Birmingham in his pocket, he first joined the aircraft manufacturing company that later became dominant in the British aerospace industry. At the company, he was the youngest mechanical engineer.

In 1960, with money from his father, he bought a small factory that made parts for car factories. Just a few months later, he signed a very lucrative contract with the Ministry of Defense for the manufacture of a parachute release device for Air Force pilots. Six years later, he started another business because he figured out how to operate the doors of buses and trains with compressed air. He was successful in business and his achievements were recognized by the Queen in 1993.

During the Gulf War, the British government commissioned him to create a device that would allow several soldiers to use the same ventilator in the event of a chemical attack. He did it.

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