Discovery of Tungsten

In 1779 Irish chemist Peter Woulfe deduced the existence of a new element – tungsten – from his analysis of the mineral wolframite (an iron manganese tungstate mineral).

Tungsten was isolated as tungstic oxide (WO3) in 1781, in Sweden,3e02209_150px
by Carl W. Scheele from the mineral scheelite (calcium tungstate). However he did not have a suitable furnace to reduce the oxide to the metal.

Tungsten was finally isolated by brothers Fausto aes_20071227_1_5013881nd Juan Jose de Elhuyar in 1783, in Spain, by reduction of acidified wolframite with charcoal.

The element name comes from the Swedish words ‘tung sten’ meaning heavy stone.

The chemical symbol, W, comes from the original name of the element, Wolfram.