Inventor of illuminating gas; b. at Maastricht, Holland, 1748; d. there 4 July, 1824. At the age of sixteen, in 1764, he went to Louvain, where he studied theology and philosophy at the Collège du Faucon, in which he became professor of natural philosophy in 1772. At this time the question of aerostats and Montgolfiers was occupying the mind of scientists, and the Duc d'Arenberg, a Mæcenas of science and art, engaged a committee to examine into the question of the best gas for balloon purposes. Minkelers was on this committee, and published in 1784, after many experiments, a work entitled "Mémoire sur l'air inflammable tiré de différentes substances, rédigé par M. Minkelers, professeur de philosophie au collège du Faucon, université de Louvain" (Louvain, 1784). As an appendix to this memoir there was a "Table de gravités spécifiques des différentes espèces d'air", by T.F. Thysbaert, a member of the committee. In his memoir Minkelers tells us how he made his precious discovery: from the very beginning of his experiments he had had the idea of enclosing oil in the barrel of a gun and heating it in a forge. Under action of the heat the oil dissolved and gave place to a remarkably light gas, having other advantageous qualities. Having proved that oil gas was the best for balloons, Minkelers used it for many balloons which rose rapidly and travelled great distances in the neighbourhood of Louvain. As we learn from his pupil von Hulstein, who was in his class in 1785, Minkelers at times used this same gas to light his workshop. Moreover, the drift of his memoir proves clearly that in its inventor's eyes the great combustibility of the gas was one of its leading qualities. When Joseph II, in 1788, transferred the University of Louvain to Brussels, Minkelers continued as professor, but when it was removed back to Louvain he refused to return. He resigned in 1794 and was appointed professor of physics and chemistry at the Central School of Maastricht, 4 July, 1824.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online