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A Serb who invented a hand-held razor – unrecognized in his midst – won a noble title in London


The Serbian inventor who first invented the handheld hair clipper, the popular nuller, was Nikola Bizumić (1823–1906).

He was born in the poor village of Neradin in Fruška Gora, and studied the Berber craft in Irig and Ruma. When cutting his customers with scissors, he came up with the idea to construct a machine that would enhance the barber’s business, that is, speed up the process of cutting.

He did not find any understanding with his master, so he left him and moved to Ruma, where he passed the Calfen exam in 1836. Even here he failed to obtain 100 forints to make and patent his idea.

Almost empty of his wallet, he left his native land in 1855 and went to London, where he found financiers for his invention, which soon began to be produced and exported.

The British immediately recognized the possible benefit of his machine, which they realized. In just ten years, the whole of Europe has been fiddling with it. The success was enormous. Bizumic was even given the prestigious title of Ser (awarded by the English monarch), and in order to succeed in the business world, he took the typical English name – John Smith.

Bearing in mind that Bizumić did not marry or have children, the issue of inheritance remained unclear. The whole story carries a dose of mystery, and there are even elements of conspiracy. In the hometown of Nikola Bizumić today there is a story that England will not pay money to the heirs because in that case the Bank of England would go bankrupt, given the fact that it amounts to several hundred million pounds.



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