Ignacy Łukasiewicz – The Kerosene Lamp Creator of Armenian Descent

Ignacy Łukasiewicz

Ignacy Łukasiewicz (March 8, 1822 – January 7, 1882) is known to the world as the creator of the kerosene lamp. Łukasiewicz was a son of an Armenian family that had settled in Poland, and the surname “Łukasiewicz” is the Polish form of the Armenian surname “Ghukasyan” (Ղուկասյան).

Even in childhood, Ignacy was deeply interested in chemistry and medicine. He worked as an assistant pharmacist in the Polish city of Rzeszow. At the same time, he attended secret meetings of national Polish groups, for which he would be arrested in 1846 by the Austrian authorities and sentenced to two years of imprisonment.

In 1848, Ignacy Łukasiewicz returned to his beloved profession and went to work at the Lviv pharmacy “Under the Golden Star”. The director of the pharmacy was an Armenian Peter Mikolashi (Mikaelyan) who patronized Łukasiewicz and helped him enter the Krakow Jagiellonian University. Later at the University of Vienna, Łukasiewicz received a master’s degree.

After completing his studies, Łukasiewicz returned to Lviv and continued working in the same pharmacy. In the laboratory of this pharmacy, he began experiments on the distillation of crude oil to create new drugs.

In 1853, as a result of the distillation of crude oil, Łukasiewicz obtained a yellowish oily liquid (kerosene) which, unfortunately, couldn’t be used in pharmacology. However, during his experiments, he discovered that kerosene, unlike oil, when burning, gave more light and emitted less harmful substances.

Łukasiewicz invented a kerosene lamp model and patented it in 1854 in Germany. The kerosene lamp created by Ignacy Łukasiewicz instantly became famous. It would illuminate entire Europe and America until the advent of electricity.

Source: FB page of Evocabank

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