Available in PDF: Eva’s Beloved Dad
Ladislav NACHMÜLLNER invented the first commercial curing brine containing sodium nitrite in Prague in the early 1900’s. As an introduction to a book on his life, his daughter, Eva Nachmüllnerová, wrote the following moving introduction. (Translated from the Czech language by Monica with minor changes by myself)
“The 2nd of April 1896 was a big day in the small Bohemian (1) town of Zlichov. The first born son of Antonin and Vilemina Nachmullner was born. Antonin was a master glass maker at the Janovske glassworks in Jenstejn, close to Panenskych Dubenek and his wife Vilemina, (maiden name Jungvirtova), was the daughter of a glass master of Dolni Bradlo close to Trhove Kamenice.
Besides the midwife Alzbeta Ecsteinova’s knowledge of the birth, the news first came to the glass makers fraternity. It spread fast among the close family of neighbours and fellow parishioners of their church in Zlichov.
Contrary to tradition, the master-tailor Zich became the boy’s godfather. The fact that Zich was not a glass-maker was a break with tradition. Antonin swore that his son would not continue in the long family line of glass-makers.
He was baptized on a Sunday with water from Bohemia’s national river, the river Vltava, in the church in Zlichov. They named him Ladislav. This was another break with tradition as old ladies whispered among them, “Only God knows after whom he was named…” This then, in short, is how my father was born.
In accordance with his father Antonin’s wishes, my father did not become a glass-maker and events in his life would soon steer him in a completely different direction. Unfortunate events would alter the course of his life completely.
At age 35 his father Antonin had a stroke. One day during a bitter cold he arrived home, freezing. In an effort to warm himself he sat next to the fire place. Sick, he fell asleep. His cloths caught fire and he tragically burned to death. It was 1908. He was 37.
Grandmom Vilemina died in 1912 in the hospital in Pelhrimov. She had tuberculosis. She was 39 years old. At the time of her passing my father was only 16 years old.
He was forced to take care of his younger siblings, Vaclav, Tana, Jozef and Borka. The youngest was adopted by the neighbors and raised as their own. That is how it happened that the young Ladik was left to care for his brothers and sisters. He learned the art of curing meat as a means to provide for his family.
His biggest invention was certainly his original and patented quick salt which he later called QUICK SALT PRAGANDA.
At first he wrote a few professional books about butchers, to butchers. The most popular and sought after book was “ZLATA KNIHA PRAGANDA” (The Golden Book of PRAGANDA), which is currently being reprinted after 65 years.
Dad had other inventions such as “VOSY,” for spraying hams. Another invention was a preparation for cleaning oxidation from drive belts, called “SAMSON”.
I remember when I was little girl Dad would send New Year’s greetings to all his clients with the wish, “May God give us health!” Until the end of his life he lived by his own creed, “Only the best for Butchers” or “Everything for Butchers.”
In 1939 Dad contracted pneumonia twice. In 1944 he stayed sick and got tuberculosis. He was treated at the hospital in Plesi but to no avail. I remember when Mom and Dad were discussing their 25th wedding anniversary on 2 February 1945. On this day Dad was up and about. The priest came to minister to him and renewed their silver wedding vows.
On 6 February when I came to visit Dad around lunch time, Dr Fricia was also there. My father breathed his last while in my arms. His life ended and his soul was commended into the hands of God.
Through all my life, he was, and he is, my beloved Dad and he will always be an example to me.
In Prague 8 September 2000
“Bohemia is a region in the Czech Republic. In a broader meaning, it often refers to the entire Czech territory, including Moravia and Czech Silesia, especially in historical contexts: the lands of the Bohemian Crown.” (Wikipedia)
Ladislav Nachmüllner vulgo Praganda, Nachmüllnerová, Eva Editor, Nakladatelské údaje: Tábar : OSSIS, 2000
Church in Zlichiv. Photo by Ondřej Kališ – okalis
Vltava River. http://thewritemag.com/poetry/somewhere-over-the-vltava/