M” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Rafolas

All you chemistry enthusiasts, who invented the portable lighter?

The discovery of fire was one of biggest leaps for mankind. And the invention of lighter is one of the biggest leaps in making life easier!

The first lighter (not too portable though) was invented by a German chemist named Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner in 1823. It was called Döbereiner’s lamp. The way it worked was by producing hydrogen gas using a chemical reaction (zinc reacts with sulphuric acid) and causing this gas to ignite and produce heat and light. But since it was heavy and dangerous, it did not gain popularity.

The next innovation came when  Carl Auer von Welsbach patented ferrocerium in 1903. Ferrocerium produces a number of sparks when scratched. It was inexpensive and thus gained popularity and made the modern lighter possible.


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