Ignacy Lukasiewicz opened his first oil well on the area of Galicia in 1854. Some also consider it to have been the first oil well in world history.
Ignacy Lukasiewicz, one of the founders of the modern oil industry, was born on this day in 1822. Lukasiewicz was born in what is now southern Poland, in the village of Zaduszniki. At the time of his birth that area belonged to the Austrian Empire, being part of the so-called Galicia and Vladimir. In his youth, Ignacy Lukasiewicz participated in Polish attempts to free their country from foreign rule.
At the age of 30, Lukasiewicz graduated pharmacy. He was interested in the possibility of making an alternative to the expensive whale oil. He experimented with various oil compounds, which were at that time mostly collected from natural sources on the Earth’s surface. With the help of his colleagues, Lukasiewicz managed to process the oil into a kind of petroleum, which could fuel a lamp. These oil lamps went into widespread use during the 1850s.
In 1854 Lukasiewicz also opened the first oil well – some consider it the first one in world history. The well was located in Bóbrka near Krosno (today in southern Poland, then a part of Galicia and Vladimir). He also opened the first oil refinery in the world in 1856, near the nearby village of Jasła.
It is also interesting that, thanks to his efforts in the oil business, Ignacy Lukasiewicz became one of the wealthiest people on the territory of Galicia and Vladimir. He was later elected into the local parliament. He died in 1882, aged 59.