Had he still have been alive today, Bunsen Burner creator Robert Bunsen, would have been celebrating his 200th birthday today. This event was marked by a particularly cool Google doodle, beautifully incorporating the creation. But the problem is, if you look at the real details of the Bunsen Burner and Mr. Bunsen’s life, you could be somewhat disappointed since it appears that it wasn’t actually Robert Wilhelm Bunsen who invented the piece of equipment! He did improve on the original creation which is said to have been developed by his assistant Peter Desaga who was asked by Mr. Bunsen to develop a prototype. It was the assistant who was the mechanic.
Some time later the two together designed a hot, soot-less, non-luminous flame by mixing the gas with air in a “controlled fashion.” Still, at the end of the day it is Robert Bunsen who will be remembered for designing the Bunsen burner, whether he did technically or not. And perhaps even more significantly, Mr. Bunsen made far great contributions to the chemistry field that he won’t be remembered for (including arsenic compounds, elemental spectroscopy, galvanic battery and organic chemistry).