One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Naphthalene as used in gas lamps, in which its vapour was mixed with the gas in order to produce a brighter flame. Chiefly attributive in "albo-carbon lamp", "albo-carbon light".
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Dundee Courier & Argus. From classical Latin albus white + -o- + carbon, with allusion to the white colour of the solid form of naphthalene, which is a hydrocarbon.
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