Irinyi was born in Nagyléta, attended middle school in Nagyvárad and later studied law in Debrecen. He acquired his chemical knowledge at the Vienna Polytechnikum. During one of his professor’s experiments, he solved the puzzle of making silent matches. After long hours of experimentation he patented his invention of silent and non-explosive matches in 1836. In the heads of the matches he mixed phosphor with lead dioxide instead of calcium chlorate. Irinyi sold his invention to a manufacturer of matches and went for a study tour abroad. He became a student at the famous Agricultural College in Berlin. After returning home he founded the first factories for matches in Pest in different parts of the city. He wrote several articles on chemistry and published his textbook for schools entitled The Elements of Chemistry.
Irinyi also played an important part in the Hungarian revolution of 1848 and 49—he was assigned to direct the manufacture of guns and gunpowder, and was put him in charge of supervising the national factories.
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