Orban was Hungarian according to the majority of sources, while some scholars also mention his potential German ancestry. Alternative theories suggest his Wallachian roots and he was described by Laonikos Chalkokondyles with the unclear term "Dacian".
In 1452 he originally offered his services to the Byzantines, but emperor Constantine XI could not afford his high salary nor did he possess the materials necessary for constructing such a large siege cannon. Orban then left Constantinople and approached the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II who was preparing to besiege the city, claiming that his weapon could blast 'the walls of Babylon itself'. Given abundant funds and materials, the engineer built the gun within three months at Adrianople, from which it was dragged by sixty oxen to Constantinople. In the meantime, Orban also produced other cannon used by the Turkish siege forces.
The bombard technology, which mainly German technicians designed at first for the Hungarian Army, had been established between 1400 and 1450 all over western Europe, transforming siege warfare, with some pieces like the Faule Mette, Dulle Griet, Mons Meg and the Pumhart von Steyr which are still extant from the period. Urban, along with an entire crew, was probably killed during the siege when one of his superguns exploded, then not an unusual occurrence. A modern author speculated that "he could have been German too" based on other gun founders serving in the Royal Hungarian Court.
In popular media
- Master Orban was played by Burhanettin Üskan in the 1951 Turkish film, İstanbul'un Fethi.
- Erdoğan Aydemir played Orban in the 2012 film Fetih 1453. In the film, it is storied that Orban has made a sketch for the Doge of Genoa (Ali Ersin Yenar), but the Doge wasn't interested in his sketch. Orban has an adopted daughter named Era (Dilek Serbest) who has a romantic relationship with Ulubatlı Hasan (İbrahim Çelikkol).
- Hans-Henning Kortüm: Transcultural Wars from the Middle Ages to the 21st century, Akedemie Verlag, Berlin, 2006 
- Gábor Ágoston: Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman Empire, Cambridge University Press, 2005 
- Kelly DeVries, Robert Douglas Smith: Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact, ABC CLIO, 2007 
- David Nicolle, Christa Hook: Constantinople 1453: The End of Byzantium, Osprey Publishing, 2000 
- Arthur Cotterel: Asia: A Concise History, John Wiley and Sons, 2011
- Clifford Rogers: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, Volume 1, Oxford University Press, 2010 
- Runciman 1990, pp. 77–78
- The heirs of Archimedes: science and the art of war through the Age of Enlightenment, Brett D. Steele & Tamera Dorland, The MIT Press, 2005, p.128 & Roger Crowley, on In Our Time: Constantinople Siege & Fall, broadcast 2006
- Schmidtchen 1977a, pp. 153–157
- Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 226
- Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 237, Fn. 121
- Nicolle, David (2000), Constantinople 1453: The End of Byzantium, Osprey Publishing, p. 13, ISBN 1-84176-091-9
- Runciman, Steven (1990), The Fall of Constantinople: 1453, London: Cambridge University Press, pp. 77–78, ISBN 978-0-521-39832-9
- Schmidtchen, Volker (1977a), "Riesengeschütze des 15. Jahrhunderts. Technische Höchstleistungen ihrer Zeit", Technikgeschichte 44 (2): 153–173
- Schmidtchen, Volker (1977b), "Riesengeschütze des 15. Jahrhunderts. Technische Höchstleistungen ihrer Zeit", Technikgeschichte 44 (3): 213–237
- Crowley, Roger (2006), In Our Time: Constantinople Siege and Fall