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Video: Posted YouTube  December 18, 2013 by Vektra  d.o.o. Varazdin, current 3D scan of  Whitehead Torpedo Factory Launch Tower in Rijeka, Croatia

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Photo: Public Domain

Video: Posted YouTube  May 20, 2009 by CinemaHistory,  video by Thomas Edison on May 9, 1900 "Discharging a Whitehead Torpedo"

Note: The Georg & Agathe Foundation  is not affiliated with the video provider YouTube  or CinemaHistory; we are not responsible for content, nor do we endorse any ads.

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Historical Relevance and Lessons for the Future...
Robert Whitehead's invention of the torpedo in the 1860's has been likened to the engineering leap similar to putting a man on the moon. Preserving the full global history of this achievement is important to understand our engineering and connecting us to our geo-polticial collective past. Additionally, in it's time, it was hoped to end all wars with it's potential of 'mutual assured destruction' that assumed would create conditions for detente between world powers. Both Whitehead and von Trapp families, despite their military involvement, wished for peace over war.

Honoring the von Trapp 
​and Whitehead Heritage

​​​Industry supplied ships and weapons to the navy of the Habsburg Empire. Raw materials from around the world arrived in its harbor, transported there by ship and rail, to be manufactured into rope, leather, canned fish, paper, tobacco, brandy & spirits, cocoa & chocolate, pasta & rice, soap, furniture, and playing cards by ever multiplying factories. Oil and sugar refineries sprang up, alongside warehouses and storage buildings. From 1866 onward, Rijeka was the industrial cradle of the torpedo, one of the most innovative weapon systems in modern history, due to the genius of engineer and industrial entrepreneur Robert Whitehead (1823-1905), sparked by an idea brought to him by naval Captain Giovanni Luppis (1813-1875).

Today Rijeka’s industrial heritage covers a broad spectrum, from real industrial archaeological sites in the Rjezina River Area, to the modern full functioning enterprises of the oil refinery and the shipyard. There is growing interest that now is the time to offer the international traveler an experience of historic cultural tourism, by seeing the European story of Rijeka's history through its industrial heritage that is still preserved in buildings and operating industries along its coastal and river waters. Within the structure of a potential Adriatic Naval Heritage Network and Rijeka Kvarner Industrial Heritage Network, the proposed Robert Whitehead Torpedo Factory & Naval Museum and Whitehead von Trapp Peace Conference Center complex could become the keystone to this endeavor, galvanizing the project as a whole and bringing interested travelers to the city of Rijeka for a unique, insightful, and cultural experience of the historically rich and beautiful Adriatic Coast.

[Source: 2016 Drs. Hildebrand P.G. de Boer, Dutch Foundation for Industrial Culture ]

Photo: Public Domain

Proposed Project​: Whitehead Torpedo Factory & Naval Museum and 

Whitehead von Trapp Peace Conference Center 
within the structure of a potential Adriatic Naval Heritage Network and Rijeka Kvarner Industrial Heritage Network 

and in collaboration with PRO TORPEDO Rijeka ​and Dutch Foundation for Industrial Culture

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Museum and Peace Center

Whitehead Torpedo Factory circa 1910
Austro-Hungarian Empire  (today Rijeka, Croatia)

Robert Whitehead

​​​​​​Georg & Agathe FOUNDATION

PROJECTS Preserve & Share history:

Preserving Our Collective Past

​​"We were led by the wish to leave all we had inherited from our ancestors to our descendants as much as possible and in the best possible condition."

- Velid Đekić, MSc
PRO TORPEDO Rijeka, President


Its the right time "... to promote the need of raising awareness of the importance of marking and preserving the past, as well as the present of the industrial heritage."  

- Daina Glavočić, MSc

Rijeka, Croatia's Industrial Heritage
As Drs. Hildebrand P.G. de Boer, Dutch Foundation for Industrial Culture, reflects, "Rijeka’s regional identity is European."  That sounds contradictory, yet, when in Rijeka, one becomes fascinated by the tangibility of centuries of European history and ongoing geopolitical changes over the last 150 years that took place under the influence of Venice, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Croatia. Rijeka was also called alternately St. Veit am Flaum, Szentvit, Fiume and Reka. This is also echoed in Rijeka’s European Capital of Culture 2020 concept of: “Port of Diversity”. In the past century, the port of Rijeka (Fiume) developed into an important industrial and maritime center within its free-port structure. ​

Photo: © City Museum of Rijeka

Torpedo Factory & Naval Museum and Peace Conference Center

Museum Complex & Archive

​​​​The envisioned Whitehead Torpedo Factory & Naval Museum and Whitehead von Trapp Peace Conference Center  would be housed in the existing historic structures in today’s Rijeka, Croatia. The idea is of five (V) complexes, each with its focused history, telling the story of life within and around the Whitehead Torpedo Factory from the initial Stabilimento Tecnico Fiumano to the Whitehead Torpedo Factory and finally Whitehead & Co.

Complex I – Whitehead Torpedo Factory buildings encompassing the visitor center and torpedo museum, as well as housing the collected archives for the Whitehead Torpedo Factory, Austro-Hungarian Navy, and Adriatic naval history; Complex II – Existing torpedo launch structure; Complex III – Whitehead employee housing; Complex IV – Whitehead Villa and Hoyos Villa; Complex V – Peace Conference Center Hall & Theatre.

Photo: Public Domain

On the site of the world's first torpedo factory in today's Rijeka, Croatia, the foundation proposes the establishment of a museum and peace conference center to hold archives, educate and engage the public, as well as connect the lessons from the failed attempt for peace through weapons with today's global peace efforts. The effort will collect, archive, and preserve information, stories and items relating to the Whitehead and Hoyos families, multiple Whitehead factories, the Austro-Hungarian Imperial Navy, and the Adriatic Seas' long naval history.

Original Whitehead Torpedo Factory Launch Tower in 2013
Rijeka, Croatia

John Whitehead

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Whitehead Torpedo Factory Complex 2000's

Rijeka, Croatia