Philippe Lebon, French engineer

Philippe Lebon, French engineer

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Caption: Philippe Lebon (1767-1804), French engineer. Lebon discovered that heated sawdust led to a gas igniting with a flame. This discovery of wood gas led Lebon to invent his 'Thermolampe' gas lighting system, patented in 1799. In 1801 the system was used to light the Hotel Seignelay, Paris, France. This was the first known example of gas lighting for a whole building. Lebon, who also worked on engines, was found stabbed to death five years later on the Champs-Elysees in Paris. Artwork from 'Moteurs' (1911) by French civil engineer Max de Nansouty (1854-1913), part of the 'Les merveilles de la science' series of 1867-1891 by Louis Figuier.

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