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Profile of the Day: Ignacy Łukasiewicz

Do you have any Polish ancestors? On this day in 1822, Polish pharmacist Ignacy Łukasiewicz was born in Zadusxniki, Poland. A notable inventor and philanthropist, Łukasiewicz is perhaps best remembered for the invention of the modern kerosene lamp.

Image: Ignacy Łukasiewicz / Wikimedia Commons

The youngest of five children, Łukasiewicz was born to an impoverished noble family. To help support his family, he began to work as a pharmacist’s assistant in a pharmacy. During this time, he became involved in several political organizations in support of the idea of restoring Polish sovereignty and independence. He was briefly imprisoned for his political activities, but released due to lack of evidence.

After his release, he earned his master’s degree in pharmaceutics and devoted his work to the study of kerosene. He became the first person to distill the liquid from seep oil and successfully exploit it for lighting, opening up an entirely new industry. In 1853, he invented the modern kerosene lamp and shortly after, introduced the first modern street lamp in Europe. Soon, Łukasiewicz founded the world’s first oil company and became a very wealthy businessman. He became known for his philanthropy and support of the region’s economic development.

Łukasiewicz died of pneumonia on January 7, 1882 at the age of 59.

Explore Ignacy Łukasiewicz’s family tree on Geni and share your connection to the inventor.

View Ignacy Łukasiewicz’s Geni Profile

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