Gesner, Abraham P.

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Born:              2 May 1797, Cornwallis Township, Nova Scotia

Died:              29 April 1864, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Field:             Physician and Geologist

Focus:            Discoverer of Kerosene



Abraham Pineo Gesner was born at Chipman’s corner, a farming community of about 100 people on the Cornwallis River in Kings County, NS, son of Colonel Harry and Sarah (Pineo) Gesner. Abraham Gesner studied medicine at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital and surgery at Guy’s Hospital in London, and received his M.D. in 1827.

Gesner’s best known invention was carried out at Albert, New Brunswick in 1846 when he extracted kerosene from coal. He obtained a United States Patent for Kerosene in 1853 and in 1854 moved to New York where he established a company to manufacture kerosene from petroleum. Dr. Gesner sold his patents in 1863 and returned to Nova Scotia to fill the Chair of Natural History at Dalhousie University.

Buried at Camp Hill Cemetery, Halifax.

Related Links

Abraham Gesner


Marble, Allan E.: Nova Scotians at Home and Abroad.  Lancelot Press, Windsor, Nova Scotia, 1977.

MacBeath, G. 2004. Great Maritime achievers in science and technology.  Goose Lane Editions, Fredericton, New Brunswick. 127 pp.