Carl Auer Von Welsbach (1858-1929) was an Austrian chemist and engineer who discovered two rare earth elements, which lead him to invent the incandescent gas mantle. He discovered that a rare earth element, cerium, added as its nitrate salt to a cylindrical fabric impregnated with thorium nitrate, produced a fragile mantle that glowed with white incandescence when heated in a gas flame (patented 1885). This discovery greatly improved the effectiveness of modern liquid fuel lighting. The Welsbach mantle is now used in outdoor and camp lamps. He also developed the metal filament light bulb (1898) that was an improvement on the existing carbon filament designs, lasting much longer and using about 1/2 the electricity for the same amount of light. He also invented what is today known as a "flint"(1903) that remains in wide use in cigarette lighters today.
Auer von Welsbach-Biography (Auer von Welsbach Museum)