Chemical Elements History and Information Mercury

About the chemical element Mercury, its symbol, atomic number and weight, who discovered it and when.

The Atomic Elements and Their Uses

(Element) (Symbol) (Atomic number) (Atomic weight)

Mercury Hg 80 200.59

Known since prehistoric times. Mercury is the only common metal that is liquid at room temperature. Although very little of it exists in the native state, it can be obtained by heating the mineral cinnabar. The Chinese believed that cinnabar restores youth, and the red banners of China are derived from the red of cinnabar. Breathing mercury's fumes over a long period of time causes erethism, a disorder characterized by nervousness, irritability and personality changes. The felt hat makers of old England used mercury to stabilize the wool, and most of them eventually became poisoned by the fumes, as illustrated by the Mad Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland.

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