Oldest periodic table discovered
Aperiodic table discovered at the University of St Andrews is thought to be the oldest in the world. The chart of elements, dating from 1885, was discovered in the University’s School of Chemistry in 2014 by Dr Alan Aitken during a clear out. Within the collection was a large, extremely fragile periodic table that flaked upon handling. Suggestions that the discovery may be the earliest surviving example of a classroom periodic table in the world meant the document required urgent attention to be authenticated, repaired and restored.
Mendeleev made his famous disclosure on periodicity in 1869, and while the newly unearthed table was similar, it was not identical to Mendeleev’s second table of 1871. The St Andrews table was clearly an early specimen.
The large and extremely fragile periodic table was contained in a stash of rolled up teaching charts