Oldest Original Mendeleev Periodic Table Discovered

There was a report earlier this year about what seems to be the oldest classroom periodic table in the world, it is a poster discovered in a storage basement at the University of Andrew which was bought in 1888.

However it seems the record has been beaten by a hand painted version, which was believed to have been commission by Mendeleev himself, displayed in a lecture theatre in the chemistry building of St. Petersburg State University Russia

The periodic table which was dated back to 1876 and has been used for teaching over the years. Although it wasn’t a commercially printed wall chart, it was printed seven years after Dimitri Mendeleev came up with his own system of organizing elements, using oil paints on canvas surrounded by a wooden frame. It has been restored a few times throughout its life, most recently in the early 2000s.

The painting was moved to its current location when the university constructed a new chemistry building in the early 1890s. Before then, it was likely to have hung in the main university building where Mendeleev taught. Academics at the university say they are now searching through archives of the Russian Physical and Chemical Society, which existed until 1895, to try and find out more about the painted periodic table’s history.

oldest periodic table
The periodic tableThe periodic table of the elements is a tabular method of showing the chemical elements.

In 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev a Russian chemist designed the table in such a way that recurring (”periodic”) trends in the properties of the elements could be shown.

Using the trends he observed, he even left gaps for those elements that he thought were ’missing’. He even predicted the properties that he thought the missing elements would have when they were discovered. Many of these elements were indeed discovered and Mendeleev’s predictions were proved to be correct.

To show the recurring properties that he had observed, Mendeleev began new rows in his table so that elements with similar properties were in the same vertical columns, called groups. Each row was referred to as a period. One important feature to note in the periodic table is that all the non-metals are to the right of the zig-zag line drawn under the element boron. The rest of the elements are metals, with the exception of hydrogen which occurs in the first block of the table despite being a non-metal.

periodic table


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