The Open Door Web Site
What the name means: The origin or the name arsenic is probably from the Greek word arsenikos, meaning strong, brave or male. This is because, since prehistoric times around 2000BC, arsenic compounds had been added to metals, such as copper, to make the metal stronger. Another interpretation is that the origin is from the Greek word arsenikon, meaning coloured yellow. One of the three types of arsenic usually found in tin, silver and gold mines is yellow.
Who identified arsenic?: Arsenic compounds, the sulphides and the oxide, come in yellow, red and white forms and have been used since prehistoric times. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, made reference to arsenic compounds in his writings. The metal was probably first isolated from yellow arsenic by an alchemist called Albertus Magnus around 1250. He claimed to have produced a metal after heating yellow arsenic with soap. In 1649 a chemist called Johann Schröder extracted the metal by heating white arsenic with carbon. It was not until Antoine Lavoisier published his Elementary Treatise of Chemistry in 1789 that arsenic was recognised as an element.
STP = standard temperature and pressure.
About arsenic: Although arsenic is well known as a poison, since the 18th century it was a medicine, in small doses, to treat certain bacterial diseases. It was in use until the discovery and development of antibiotics. The human body contains trace amounts of arsenic and certain foods, notably prawns, contain more concentrated amounts. Arsenic compounds are found associated with tin, silver and gold deposits. To stop them becoming ill from the ingestion of arsenic compounds, Cornish miners developed a safe way to eat their lunch underground. The Cornish pasty had a pastry rim that a miner would hold while he ate the main part of the pasty. The pastry rim or crust was then thrown away so that the miner would not transfer any arsenic on his hands to the food he was eating.
The Open Door Web Site is non-profit making. Your donations help towards the cost of maintaining this free service on-line.
Donate to the Open Door Web Site using PayPal