Photographer's Note

Walking through the streets of Maastricht this morning I came across this strange statue of a noble man holding a torch... and could hardly understand why he was there.
Back home and thanks to Wikipedia, I luckily found some words in Dutch about Jean Pierre Minckelers.

Here is a short translation in english :

Jan Pieter Minckeleers or Minckelers (Maastricht, 2 december 1748 – Maastricht, 4 july 1824) was a Dutch physicist.
Minckelers studied at the University of Leuven where he became profesor of physics. There he discovered that when heating coal in the absence of oxygen, a gas (coal gas later also called town gas) lighter than air was produced.
He described this discovery in a paper in 1784 and thanks to this opened the way to the era of the first air balloons (by the brothers Montgolfier).
He soon realised that this gas was flammable and could be used for lighting. He started very soon to lighten his auditorium by using this coal gas.
The first gas distribution to lighten the city streets of Maastricht was installed in 1854.
His statue is visible in front of the Maastricht town hall. He is holding a permanently burning torch.

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Additional Photos by Eric PIRARD (cyrrhus) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 441 W: 28 N: 619] (2878)
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