Butane was discovered by Dr. Walter O. Snelling in 1910. While working for the U.S. Bureau of Mines in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Dr. Snelling conducted research on evaporating gasoline. He concluded that gasoline evaporated into propane, butane and other hydrocarbons.
Dr. Walter O. Snelling was a chemist who studied at Harvard, Yale, and George Washington University. In addition to the discovery of propane and butane, he is credited for his contribution to the development of explosives and liquefied petroleum gas (butane blended with propane and other hydrocarbons). Dr. Snelling was born in Washington, D.C in 1880 and died in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1965.