Irinyi was born on 17 May in 1817 in Nagyléta (East Hungary). He went to secondary school in Nagyvárad and he was a student of law in Debrecen College. He studied chemistry at the Polytechnicum of Vienna. An unsuccessful experiment of his professor, Meissner, gave him the idea to replace potassium chlorate with lead dioxide in the head of phosphorous match. He invented hereby the "noiseless" safety match and sold the invention to István Rómer, a match manufacturer. Later he studied agriculture and graduated from the Hohenheim Agricultural College (Germany).
|János Irinyi||Irinyi's matches|
|János Irinyi participated in the industrialization movement of the reform era. In 1840 he founded a match factory in Pest which worked to 1848.|
|A step of the manufacturing
|Memorial at his former factory
Mikszáth Kálmán tér)
In the 1848 Revolution, together with his brother József, they helped to draft the 12 Points Demand of Revolution. In the 1849 War of Independence János Irinyi was commissioned by Lajos Kossuth to work at the Nagyvárad Gunpowder and Armaments Factory. After the War of Independence he was imprisoned. In 1850 he was released with amnesty. Then he worked on his family farm in Vértes and between 1863 and 1882 at the István steam mill in Debrecen. He died on 17 December 1895.
|Beside his invention, Irinyi's scientific activity covered chemistry and agriculture. In Hungary he was one of the first propagators of modern chemistry. His first work, "Über die Theorie der Chemie" (Berlin, 1838) deals with the theoretical problems of chemistry. His textbook, "A vegytan elemei" (Elements of Chemistry) was planned three volumes, but only one was published in Nagyvárad in 1847. Irinyi was the first scientist who recommended calcium sulphate for soil-improvement.|