[Ads-l] Paraffin

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jun 15 18:44:15 UTC 2023

Interesting, that every source I checked lists 1835 as first use of
"paraffin", including OED and and MW. A quick scroll through Google Books
(something I haven't done in a long time because of evolving search
formats) points to a number of sources that are clearly misidentified - an
1830 citation is actually 1957; one dated 1800 is actually 1899 (a common
GB scanning error).

But there can be no doubt to accuracy of the 1832 find: Philosophical
Magazine, Volume 1, No. 5 (November), p. 402.

On Paraffin and Eupion

Dr. Reichenbach has discovered two substances by the dry distillation of
organic bodies, to which he has given the above names. The first from
_parum affinis_, on account of its remarkable indifference or want of
affinity; and the second from [pion] or [pion], fat, and [eu]. These
substances appear to be both contained in the tar of animal and vegetable
substances. Beech-wood tar gives the most paraphin, and with the greatest
facility; while the oil of Dippel gives most eupion.


The source should be easy to verify on paper. I'll keep looking but this is
not likely to be improved.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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