Argon is third in abundance in the earth's atmosphere (about 1% by volume). Rayleigh and Ramsay isolated and identified the gas in 1894. Like the rest of the noble gases, it is colorless, tasteless and odorless. The name for argon is taken from the Greek Argos for "inactive".
For years argon has been used in ordinary incandescent light bulbs to replace the oxygen that would otherwise shorten the lifetime of the filament. It is used in some types of welding where active atmospheric gases would interfere with the process. Argon is also used in various types of "black lights" or UV lamps since excitation of the gas produces a significant amount of ultraviolet radiation. A few curious compounds have been made with argon but they are not very stable