One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A hard, brittle wax extracted from lignite or peat by means of organic solvents and distillation, consisting mainly of saturated fatty acids of high molecular weight and their esters, and used in making polishes, varnishes, etc., and as an electrical insulator.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Journal of the Chemical Society. From German Montanwachs from montan relating to the coal and steel industry (from classical Latin montānus) + Wachs, with second element remodelled after wax.
montan wax/ˈmɒntən waks/
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