Development of the Periodic Chart



What follows is an effort to present a brief history of the development of chemical periodic charts in a way that is both enjoyable and instructive about the material world.

This project originated as an outgrowth of a workshop at the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry in July 1991.  The workshop was supported by Henkel Corporation, Monsanto Company, and Union Carbide Corporation.  The author of this site used HyperStudio® to create a series of hypermedia stacks using an Apple IIgs computer.  The final version (1.2) was completed December 27, 1992.  Those stacks have been translated to HTML for the following web pages and the content considerably expanded.

Let your curiosity lead you:
Click upon links...
.... the time line (above) to move rapidly,
....the curled page corners (below) to advance, or review the past,
....or the colored underlined links to follow that topic.


Early chemists and alchemists lived in a different time, with different language, ideas, and culture.  We can substitute our words, and explain a few of their ideas.  But it is very difficult to understand their culture.

Be careful not to judge their ideas foolish in the light of our culture, while in fact our ideas would look foolish and overly complicated to them.  While difficult, try to consider their ideas in terms of their knowledge, for it was in that light they were proposed, and defended.

Keep a record of
....your insights,
....answers (& the questions)
....your progress.

What you want to remember, write down!
(A reminder from an old school teacher)

While the author believes it paramount to preserve historical accuracy, there is a risk in condensing history that unintentional errors occur.  If any error is found, please use the e-mail link found at the bottom of every screen to propose a correction.


Sources of Historical information:

A History of Science  George Sarton
The Historical Background of Chemistry  Henry M. Leicester
Medieval and Early Modern Science  A. C. Crombie
Through Alchemy to Chemistry  John Read
Graphic Representations of the Periodic System During One Hundred Years  Edward Mazurs
Discovery of the Elements  Mary Elvira Weeks
The Periodic System of Chemical Elements  J. W. van Spronsen
Radiochemistry and the Discovery of Isotopes  Gerald Holton, editor
AMBIX: Journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy & Chemistry  July 1980
Lectures on Historical Development of the Periodic Law  Bill Jensen
Bulletin for the History of Chemistry  Bill Jensen, Editor
Classical Chemical Periodicity  Dreyfus 1984
Elements of Chemistry  Antoine Lavoisier
Sketch of a Course of Chemical Philosophy  Stanislao Cannizzaro
On the discovery of the Periodic Law...  John Newlands
The Periodic Law of the Chemical Elements (Faraday Lecture 6/4/1859)  Mendeleeff
General Chemistry  Darrell Ebbing
Handbook of Chemistry & Physics  Chemical Rubber Co.

NSTAs SciLink
Selected by the SciLinks program,
a service of National Science Teachers Association.
Copyright 1999-2009.
click icon to link the SciLinks.

Selected by PSIgate, (now subsumed in intute)
a former service of the University of Manchester, UK.
click icon to link to intute, their index and search function

For fast time transport, click on the timeline above or use this alternate Menu.
Greeks alchemy Lavoisier Dalton Berzelius molecules spectra electron radiation Bohr isotopes synthesis
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Chemical Elements
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page created 19 March 2002
latest revision 10 October 2009
by D Trapp
Mac made