Written by Jagoda Urban-Klaehn Tuesday, 15 February 2011 21:11
In recent years petroleum influence world politics and economy more than any other energy resource used worldwide. How many of you know that Poland was a pioneer in petroleum mining worldwide. Poland was among the main petroleum producers in the world. In the beginning of XIX century Poland was the 3rd petroleum producer in the world, just behind the US and Russia. Unfortunately, the petroleum boom did not last long. Poland lacked large petroleum deposits resources to remain a worldwide petroleum center.
Ignacy Lukasiewicz, a Pole, was a worldwide known pioneer in development of petroleum industry. Lukasiewicz (1822-1982), Polish pharmacist of Armenian descent invented the way to use kerosene, product obtained in petroleum distillation, for the kerosene lamp, called also paraffin lamp. Kerosene lamp replaced so called Argand lamp based on the whale oil. Kerosene lamps were much cheaper, since kerosene was much easier obtainable than whale oil. The kerosene lamps were the precursors of the electric bulbs. They were still in everyday use when my grandparents lived and my parents were young. Ignacy Lukasiewicz was also a founder of the first oil well in Poland.
Lukasiewicz was born March 8, 1822 in Zaduszniki near Mielec in Southeastern part of Poland, called Galicia, which then belonged to Austria. His parents belonged to the local intelligentsia. After he graduated from the secondary school he had to start working as a pharmacist's assistant due to a difficult financial situation of his family. Lukasiewicz followed his parents patriotic work and became involved in the patriotic movement which main goal was Poland's independence. For his political activities he was imprisoned in Lwow for a bit over a year. After he was released from the prison in December 1947 he went to study in Krakow and Vienna. He graduated with the degree in pharmacy in 1852 and returned to Lwow.