Döbereiner's Lamp

Döbereiner, Johann Wolfgang, 1780 - 1849Other forms of fire manufacture were also developed alongside the match. In 1823 Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner observed that a jet of hydrogen, when directed at a platinum sponge from a distance of 4 cm so that it was premixed with air, caused platinum to become red-hot, then white-hot and then the hydrogen jet ignited spontaneously. He invented the Döbereinersche Feuerzeug (Döbereiner Lighter or Lamp), a pneumatic gas lighter. Hydrogen, generated from the reaction between zinc and sulphuric acid, passes through an opening and is directed to a platinum sponge that is supported by platinum wire. On contact with the platinum surface the hydrogen ignites, as, by co-ordinating with the platinum, the hydrogen-hydrogen bond is weakened and the hydrogen molecule may then be oxidized. The hydrogen flame can then be used to light a fire. By 1828 20,000 of these lighters were in use throughout Germany and England.

The modern cigarette lighter has a pneumatic gas delivery, usually of butane, which is ignited by a "lighter flint mechanism". Lighter "flints" are not actually flint; instead they are composed of a mixture of rare-earth and similar metals (mostly cerium). The "flint" is rubbed against a serrated hard steel wheel or rasp. As with the flint-pyrite method: particles are detached with sufficient energy that they burn in the air, however in this case the particles are derived from the "flint" rather than from the steel.

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