Far from everybody is lucky enough to see his/her name become an identifying moniker. It is now clear to everyone who hears word Kulibin that the person in question is jack-of-all-hands, an inventor, big-brained and smart fellow. As for real Kulibin, he used to say: “All my thoughts are aimed at inventing machines, useful for the treasury and public.” The list of such devices is long – clock, lift, vodokhod (prototype of steamship), self-propelled carriage, microscope, spotlight… The neighbors considered him a magician and despised the inventor. Educated and clever people, on the contrary, highly appreciated and respected the ingenious self-taught mechanic. His contemporaries recalled that famous Suvorov, onace having seen Kulibin at the other end of the hall, came up to him and bowed. Then, the field marshal took the mechanic by the hand, inquired about his health and said addressing the people in the hall: “Lord bless me, a lot of wits! He will invent a flying carpet for us!” Ivan Kulibin did not invent a magic carpet, but tried to design an arched bridge over Neva 300 meters long. After the model of this bridge was successfully tested, Leonhard Euler congratulated Kulibin: “Now it only remains to build a stairway to heaven for us.” Kulibin did not invent this stairway either, but was in charge for 30 years of the mechanic workshop under the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences, which was making machine-tools, astronomical and physical instruments, as well as navigation aids. Then, he came back to his native area and died there in poverty, as the father of 12 children spent all his savings for invention of perpetual motion machine. As is known, however, such a project is above the strength of any inventor, because the very idea is contrary to the laws of physics.
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