Lee Carver was a nuclear physicist intent on discovering a way to alter the molecular structure of matter. Carver achieved a breakthrough with the invention of the moleculary, a device with which he had successfully transformed sand into diamond. The transformative effect of the moleculary proved unstable, however, and very temporary. Shortly after his breakthrough came with the moleculary, Carver suffered a terrible setback, when an explosion in his laboratory left Carver blind. At first distraught over his condition, Carver, perhaps desperately, attempted to continue on with his research, despite his crippling handicap. Stumbling and groping about his laboratory, Carver accidentally spilled several chemicals, ones he had been bombarding with high frequency waves. The chemical fumes acted upon Carver's optic nerves, permitting a more intense form of light to reach them, restoring his eyesight. Brushing the chemicals onto an old lantern, Carver found the electromagnetic waves filtered through the chemicals on the lantern, though invisible to the naked eye, allowed him to see, even in total darkness. Carver called his discovery "Ultra Light". Though able to see via the Ultra Light, Carver's visual acuity was not restored enough to do the delicate work necessary to continue his research. Angry and frustrated, Carver resolved to achieve his goals of fame and fortune by any means, regardless of who may suffer for his ambitions. Carver spent the next several weeks fashioning a Blind Man's Cane, one with an Ultra Light lantern at the top, and a moleculary prism cresting the lantern. Taking inspiration from an old painting of a masked Colonial lamplighter, Carver adopted the guise of the Lamplighter, and set off on a life of crime.
Carver's first criminal act, as the Lamplighter, is to rob the Quickway Loan Company. Insurance investigator Hal Jordan is assigned to the Quickway theft, which, unbeknownst to the Lamplighter, puts the Green Lantern on his trail. On his next criminal foray, the Lamplighter robs the Elite Jewel Emporium. This time he has to contend with the Green Lantern. The Lamplighter's moleculary proves more than a match for the Green Lantern's power ring, countering the Green Lantern's will powered ring constructs with his own molecularly altered forms. The two adversaries seem stalemated throughout most of their conflict, but the Green Lantern's greater experience begins to give him the edge, forcing the Lamplighter to flee. On their next encounter, the Lamplighter finds that the Green Lantern has learned much from their initial confrontation. The Lamplighter quickly runs through the only fighting tactics he knows, with Green Lantern prepared for his tricks at every turn. In short order, the Lamplighter is defeated and turned over to the proper authorities. To date, Carver's criminal career as the Lamplighter has, seemingly, come to a close.
The Lamplighter was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane
Powers and Abilities
A brilliant scientist, Lee Carver, as the Lamplighter wielded a Blind Man's Cane, outfitted with his two greatest inventions. The first, a moleculary prism, gave Carver the ability to alter the molecular structure of matter, any way her saw fit. The moleculary's transformations were only temporary, though. Any change Carver effected would completely reverse itself, a short time later. A melted vault door, for instance, would be perfectly intact several hours later, as if nothing had ever happened to it. Carver's moleculary could also transform matter into energy, as in at least one instance the Lamplighter transformed ordinary glass into lasers. Carver proved fairly imaginative with the moleculary, using it to transform chandeliers into buzzsaws, the very air into concrete, even himself into helium, allowing him to fly. By training the moleculary on himself, Carver could also alter his own shape into whatever he choose, once transforming into a tree to elude the Green Lantern. Subtle use of the moleculary on living beings allowed the Lamplighter to simply paralyze his victims, through molecular stasis. The moleculary could also be used to alter facial features and miniaturize objects. An unexpected side effect of exposure to the moleculary's power once cured a man of a degenerative disease, presumably by eliminating the disease molecules from the man's body. It is unclear, however, as to why this effect would not be reversed when the moleculary's effects wore off, as it does with all other transformations. Possibly Carver is unaware of the true scope of his moleculary's powers.
Carver's second invention is based on his discovery of an electromagnetic wavelength that allows him to see, despite the damage to his optic nerves. This Ultra Light, as Carver calls it, not only allows his blind eyes to see in normal daylight, but Carver can also see clearly in pitch darkness.