London has been troubled throughout its history by occasional blankets of fog, so dense that traffic becomes dangerous.
The condition is aggravated, especially during the heating season, by the vast volumes of black smoke rising from the soft coal used by householders and industries and in public buildings.
The result is almost total darkness at those times. Many other cities suffer from similar combinations of smoke and fog, although possibly none to the same extent as London.
In 1905, according to the London Globe in its issue of July 27 of that year, “at a meeting of the Public Health Congress Dr. Des Voeux did a public service in coining a new word for the London fog, which was referred to as smog, a compound of ‘smoke’ and ‘fog.'”
Adoption of the portmanteau word smog has been slow, although it is recognized in all the dictionaries.