Carl Auer von Welsbach was not only a scientist, he also knew how to put inventions to industrial use himself. After military service, he began studying at the Technical University of Vienna in 1878, and in 1882 he earned a doctorate in philosophy at Heidelberg’s Ruperta Carola University. From 1883 on, he conducted research on rare earths, and in 1885 he succeeded in splitting dyelin into the elements praseodymium and neodymium by means of fractional crystallization.
The medal winner invented, for example, a method of soaking a cotton stocking with the salts of rare earths, the first step towards the invention of the “gas incandescent light”, which was improved and patented in 1891. He also optimized the electric incandescent lamp and developed the Osram metal filament incandescent lamp “Auer-Oslicht”, the first factory-produced incandescent lamp.
In 1898, he moved the research and development work to Treibach in Carinthia. He found three alloys, but only cerium-iron was able to establish itself on the market, for example for the production of artificial flints.