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The answer to Radio Bulgaria’s quiz

Peter Petroff launches the world's first electronic watch

Photo: library

The quiz question about the first electronic wristwatch, was published on the website of Radio Bulgaria to test not only the knowledge of our listeners but also to tease their curiosity.

It was a surprise question – even to Bulgarian audience.

"When was Peter Petroff's invention put on the market?" turned out to be a test of how well Bulgarians themselves know their recent history and their compatriots who, with their intellect and imagination, have made a significant contribution to global technological progress.

Bulgarian inventor Peter Petroff brought to the market his electronic wristwatch branded "Pulsar" in 1971. The correct answer: "In the 1970s", was given on only four out of the ten Radio Bulgaria language sections - the German, French, Spanish and Greek editions. Not among those who answered correctly, however, were visitors to the Bulgarian site, which, along with the English, Russian, Serbian and Albanian sites, believed that the invention came to market in the 1960s. Only the Turkish page, on the other hand, assumed the 1950s.

Peter Petroff was born in 1919 in the village of Brestovitsa, in the family of a priest. In 1939 he enlisted in the French Foreign Legion, but a year later Peter was captured in a German prisoner-of-war camp in Poland while defending the Maginot Line. Thanks to his Bulgarian origin he managed to return to his homeland in 1941 and became a Tsar' officer. At the end of World War II he emigrated to Germany, where he graduated as an engineer. In the meantime, the new communist regime in Bulgaria declared him an enemy of the people and sentenced him to death in absentia.

His adventurous spirit led him first to Canada, where he was involved in building air bases, then to Indo-China, where he built bridges and power stations. Eventually he settled in the United States, where he reached the coast of Florida in a self-designed catamaran to become one of the most productive inventors of the twentieth century. In the United States, the Bulgarian was involved in numerous space projects, and together with a group of scientists he created the first meteorological satellite, Nimbus, and contributed to the design of the first communications satellite, Telstar.

In 1968 Peter Petrov founded the Care Electrics company. At that time he invented a wireless heart monitor and an electronic wristwatch. In 1975, together with one of his three sons, he founded ADS Environmental Services to manufacture computerized pollution measurement equipment, which generated annual revenues of $50 million.

Peter Petroff departed this world at the age of 83 well known in the land of opportunity, but little known in his homeland. He stands in a long line of bright minds whose astonishing achievements have long received recognition outside of Bulgaria, while at home their compatriots are still amazed when they come across information about one of them.

Radio Bulgaria never stops telling interesting stories about exceptional Bulgarians, places and events. In our content you will find the answers to many intriguing questions, including the new quiz question: where is the only surviving medieval island monastery in Bulgaria?

Check it out and give us your answer!

Editor: Elena Karkalanova

English version: Elizabeth Radkova

Listen to the daily news from Bulgaria presented in "Bulgaria Today" podcast, available in Spotify.

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