Silver: historical information

Silver was discovered by Known since ancient times at no data in not known. Origin of name: from the Anglo-Saxon word "siolfur" meaning "silver" (the origin of the symbol Ag comes from the Latin word "argentum" meaning "silver").

Silver has been known since ancient times. It is mentioned in Genesis. Slag dumps in Asia Minor and on islands in the Aegean Sea indicate that man learned to separate silver from lead as early as 3000 B.C.

Silver is one of the elements which has an alchemical symbol, shown below (alchemy is an ancient pursuit concerned with, for instance, the transformation of other metals into gold).

{{floatR}}alchemical symbol of silver{{floatR}}

Sometime prior to the autumn of 1803, the Englishman John Dalton was able to explain the results of some of his studies by assuming that matter is composed of atoms and that all samples of any given compound consist of the same combination of these atoms. Dalton also noted that in series of compounds, the ratios of the masses of the second element that combine with a given weight of the first element can be reduced to small whole numbers (the law of multiple proportions). This was further evidence for atoms. Dalton's theory of atoms was published by Thomas Thomson in the 3rd edition of his System of Chemistry in 1807 and in a paper about strontium oxalates published in the Philosophical Transactions. Dalton published these ideas himself in the following year in the New System of Chemical Philosophy. The symbol used by Dalton for silver is shown below. [See History of Chemistry, Sir Edward Thorpe, volume 1, Watts & Co, London, 1914.]

Dalton's symbol for silver

WebElements Shop

WebElements now has a WebElements shop at which you can buy periodic table posters, mugs, T-shirts, games, fridge magnets, molecular models, and more.

Periodic Table fridge magnets Periodic Table fridge magnets
Buy our periodic table fridge magnets here

WebElements poster Periodic table t-shirts Periodic table mouse mats Molymod molecular model kits Chemistry educational resources

silver atomic number