Štefan Banič (23 November 1870 - 2 January 1941) was a Slovak designer and inventor. In 1907 he emigrated to the United States, where in Pennsylvania he worked first as a miner and then at a quarry. It was only after joining an engineering works that he demonstrated his innovative talent. In 1912 he witnessed a fatal plane crash, which prompted him to explore ways of improving pilot safety. He came up with a novel parachute design, a kind of umbrella attached to the body. After Banič had demonstrated the parachute, the Patent Office in Washington DC granted him a patent for the design on 25 August 1914, thus giving him the right to produce, use and sell the invention in the United States. The US Army bought the patent, but never actually used this type of parachute. In recognition of his invention, Banič was made an honorary member of the US Air Force. It is claimed that Banič's parachute was used in the First World War by pilots of the La Fayette Escadrille, a US unit under French command. Banič eventually returned to Czechoslovakia, where he worked at a quarry as a blasting engineer. He also developed his interests in fruit-growing and caving, and in 1930 he was part of the team that made the first exploration of Driny Cave in western Slovakia. He did not continue his inventing career.
On the collector coin's obverse there is a depiction of Banič's parachute, based on the design that appears on the respective patent document. At the left of the design is the Slovak coat of arms. The year of issuance ‘2020' appears at the lower left edge and the name of the issuing country ‘SLOVENSKO' along the lower right edge. Below the parachute design are the mint mark of the Kremnica Mint (Mincovňa Kremnica), consisting of the letters ‘MK' placed between two dies, and the stylised letters ‘PV' referring to the coin's designer Peter Valach.
The reverse shows a portrait of Štefan Banič. To the right of it are the coin's denomination ‘10' nd currency ‘EURO', one above the other. The name ‘ŠTEFAN BANIČ' appears along the right edge of the design, while along the opposite edge are the years of the inventor's birth and death ‘1870' and ‘1941', separated by a dot.
|Mgr. art. Peter Valach
|Ag 900/1000, Cu 100/1000
|• • • ŠTEFAN BANIČ – VYNÁLEZCA PADÁKA
|Mincovňa Kremnica, š.p.
2,750 coins in brilliant uncirculated quality