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A Prometheus on a Human Scale – Ignacy Łukasiewicz

Piotr Franaszek, Paweł Grata, Kozicka-Kołaczkowska Anna, Mariusz Ruszel and Grzegorz Zamoyski

This book is dedicated to the life and work of Ignacy Łukasiewicz, Polish pharmacist whose world-renowned achievements include construction of the world’s first oil refinery and invention of the modern kerosene lamp. The authors also portray the history of the Galician oil industry and set it in the context of political, social and technological changes taking place in the 19th-century Central and Eastern Europe.

"The work adds substantially to existing scholarship in English. As the author of the only English-language academic monograph devoted to a general history of the Galician oil industry, I can attest that this manuscript adds significant and important information, details, depth of investigation that is not provided in my book or any other book. It therefore makes a novel contribution that will be very valuable to anyone looking for a truly detailed account of Ignacy Łukasiewicz’s contribution within the context of the Galician oil industry in general."

Alison Frank Johnson

Professor of History and of Germanic Languages and Literatures

Harvard University, Center for European Studies


"The authors sketch the profiles of two outstanding Poles, pioneers of the oil industry – Ignacy Łukasiewicz, MSc. in Pharmacy, and mining engineer and geologist Witold Zglenicki, called the Polish Nobel (...) This scientific work is an interesting and captivating read. It can be used not only by scientists and students, but also by everyone who is interested in industrial cultural heritage (...)."

Krzysztof Broński

Professor and Head of Department of Economic and Social History

Economic University in Kraków

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IV. The Power of Bóbrka


IV The Power of Bóbrka

Political and social life of the Austrian Partition until 1914. The economy of Galicia until 1914. Galician industry. Banking. Transport. Subcarpathian petroleum mining. Drilling, or the breakthrough. From Canada and Pennsylvania. Borysław fever. Entering the 20th century. Innovation, patents and competition. Geology or divining rod. Eruptions, fires, landslides, groundwater. The Subcarpathian refinery industry. Factories of drilling machines and tools in Subcarpathia and Lesser Poland at the turn of the 20th century. Austrian authorities vis-à-vis the Subcarpathian oil industry. Societies and journals. Professional vocational education. MacGarvey and others. Łukasiewicz’s heirs in the world. Congresses and exhibitions. Success in spite of obstacles

Political and social life of the Austrian Partition until 1914

Ignacy Łukasiewicz lived and worked in the Subcarpathia region, i.e. in the south-eastern areas of the Republic of Poland. At that time, this area was the northernmost province of the Austrian monarchy, since the end of the 1860s transformed into an Austro-Hungarian monarchy, in which it theoretically remained within the state until 1918 – the end of the First World War and Poland’s regaining independence. The area was annexed to the Austrian monarchy at the end of the 18th century and was the part of Poland seized by Austria as a result of the allied aggression of its neighbouring countries – Russia, Prussia and Austria. The Austrians called this province Galicia.

During Łukasiewicz’s life, important political events, as well as social and economic transformations of great...

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