Samuel Mikoviny
1700. Abelfalva (today: Abelova, Slovakia) – 26. March 1750. Trencsen
(today: Trencin, Slovakia)

He was born in an old aristocrat Hungarian family, his father was an evangelist minister. He knew Matyas Bel through his father, Bel was teaching at Besztercebanya and most probably also taught Mikoviny in grammar school. Mikoviny studied at the University of Altdorf than Jena until 1723. He mastered his knowledge of mathematics, astrology and cartography during his travels around Europe. He also made artistic copperplate engravings for the description of several German cities.

He was continuously working on the map-making of Hungary, at the beginning for his plans on regulating water-ways and measuring the property of land-owners. In 1731 (probably on Matyas Bel’s advice), III. Charles charged him to help in the research of Notitita by making a map of Hungary. In 1732, his greatest work, Epistola de Methodo Concinnandarum Mapparum Hungariae, a fictitious letter written to Matyas Bel, was published in Bratislava. In this he described the method of making maps, the cartographic principles and the practical process. For the high standard of this work, Mikoviny was awarded membership at the Science Academy of Berlin in 1735.

In 1735 he became a teacher at the Mining Academy of Selmec. From than he was teaching during the training season, and in the summer he carried on with his practical work. Soon his students were helping him in the process of map-making. He taught mathematics, mechanics, hydraulics and geodesy.


To satisfy the needs of the mines at Selmec, he built a 60 km long system of lakes consisting 16 lakes. This can still be seen today (Selmec and its region is a part of the world heritage). The 7 million cubic meters of water that was held in these lakes made sure that the machinery run by water could work even during drought. Later on he was charged to build storage lakes at Hodritsch and Rossgrund.

He died during the regulation of the river Vag near Trencsen in 1750. In his works he calls himself “Nobilis Hungarus” (Hungarian noble) and “Mikoviny Samuel Magyar Ingeniour”(Samuel Mikoviny, Hungarian engineer).