Did you know that the torpedo was invented in Rijeka? Maybe not a great thing to brag about inventing weapons of moderate destruction, but the story goes like this. One Ivan Luppis, a resident of Rijeka and retired naval officer, was thinking about how to defend the coastline at long range. He came up with the idea of what he called “the coastal saviour”, but had neither the technical background nor physical means to make the idea a reality. He heard about a British engineer, Robert Whitehead, who was manager of a steam ship manufacturing company in Rijeka. They put their heads together, and came up with the prototype “torpedo”, as Whitehead called it. The first tests were made in 1866. By 1943, the factory in western Rijeka reached its peak output of 160 torpedos a month, and Rijeka had gained a reputation for high-technology engineering. The company went bankrupt in the 1990s, but plans are now afoot to restore historic parts of the factory (such as the torpedo launching ramp) as an industrial heritage monument, relocate the city fish market here and create a new shopping and leisure zone in the western outskirts. Sounds great to us… By the way, the imposing building next to the Capuchin church (by the coach station), the so-called Ploech Palace, was the home of Annibale Ploech, a chief engineer and shareholder in the torpedo company, and his wife – Whitehead’s daughter.