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The presented apparatus is the pride of the Gorlice collection. With this apparatus Ignacy Łukasiewicz managed to obtain kerosene, which — when applied to lamps then — allowed him to light up not only the inside of flats, but also the streets. For the first time in the world a kerosene street lamp flared up in...

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The presented apparatus is the pride of the Gorlice collection. With this apparatus Ignacy Łukasiewicz managed to obtain kerosene, which — when applied to lamps then — allowed him to light up not only the inside of flats, but also the streets. For the first time in the world a kerosene street lamp flared up in Gorlice in 1854. In the place of this event, at the intersection of Węgierska and Kościuszki Streets, a commemorative plaque is now situated.
Admittedly another Polish inventor, chemist Filip Walter, distilled kerosene from oil for the first time, but Ignacy Ignasiewicz was the one who improved upon it. By successive attempts at distillation made in the presented device, he got a preparation which during combustion produced a bright flame, a gentle heat and which — importantly — did not emit smoke or an unpleasant odour. Then, he used kerosene refined in such a way in a prototype kerosene lamp, constructed together with tinsmith Adam Bratkowski, which since the 1860s had become the most commonly used form of lightning in homes. It was much more efficient than candles, which burn very fast, cheaper in exploitation than oil lamps or gas lightning used thus far. It was replaced only by the electric light bulb.

Elaborated by Katarzyna Liana (The Ignacy Łukasiewicz Regional Museum of Polish Tourism and Sightseeing Society in Gorlice), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Ignacy Łukasiewicz in Gorlice

Ignacy Łukasiewicz came to Gorlice in the autumn of 1953. He was 31 years old then and already had quite substantial experience in research on distillation of petroleum. Together with Jan Zeh, he carried it out in a Lviv laboratory in the Pod Złotą Gwiazdą pharmacy where both of them worked. Between 1952 and 1953, they managed to...

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Ignacy Łukasiewicz came to Gorlice in the autumn of 1953. He was 31 years old then and already had quite substantial experience in research on distillation of petroleum. Together with Jan Zeh, he carried it out in a Lviv laboratory in the Pod Złotą Gwiazdą pharmacy where both of them worked. Between 1952 and 1953, they managed to distil kerosene from petroleum, but the owner of the pharmacy, Piotr Mikolasch, did not see a practical application for this invention.
Łukasiewicz, who wished to continue research in a place more conducive to experiments, got to Gorlice, a place with strong traditions of extracting petroleum and rich in easily accessible sources of raw materials. He was employed as a pharmacist (he obtained a diploma at the University of Vienna) in a local pharmacy run by a widow, Ludwika Bartkowa. After hours, he distilled petroleum in the apparatus presented on the website and worked on improving the construction of the kerosene lamp. Soon, he got settled in a new place and became involved in social actions for the region. During the cholera epidemic in 1855, he treated everyone, regardless of their possessions, with such commitment that two years later when rumour spread about his moving to Jasło (because of the economic conditions), the Jews from Gorlice offered him financial help as long as he did not leave Gorlice.

Elaborated by Kinga Kołodziejska (Editorial team of Małopolska's Virtual Museums),
Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

See also: Ignacy Łukasiewicz’s distilling apparatus

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Ignacy Łukasiewicz’s distilling apparatus

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Aparat destylacyjny Ignacego Łukasiewicza [audiodeskrypcja] Tells: Fundacja na Rzecz Rozwoju Audiodeskrypcji KATARYNKA
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Aparat destylacyjny Ignacego Łukasiewicza odc. C Tells: Stanisław Szafran
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Aparat destylacyjny Ignacego Łukasiewicza odc. B Tells: Stanisław Szafran
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Aparat destylacyjny Ignacego Łukasiewicza odc. A Tells: Stanisław Szafran
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