Gesner, Abraham

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Gesner, Abraham

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Dr. Abraham Gesner was born near Kentville, NS in 1797. He went to medical school in London, England and graduated in 1825 as a surgeon and physician. He found an interest in geology during university, and did extensive geological surveys in New Brunswick. He also did some geological work in PEI and Nova Scotia. His geological collection was turned into a museum, which eventually became the New Brunswick Museum, and is considered the oldest intact geological collection in Canada. Starting in 1846 he began to develop kerosene for oil lamps, and patented the invention in 1854. Kerosene became the standard lighting fuel in homes. The company he established in New York was bought by Standard Oil, which eventually became Imperial Oil. He returned to Nova Scotia in 1863 and became professor of Natural History at Dalhousie. He wrote many books on geology and the petroleum industry. He died in Halifax in 1864.


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