Who came up with the word titanium?

by Felton
(Dublin, Ireland)

German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth was the first to use “titanium” for naming the king of metals, after the titans of the Greek mythology when he independently rediscovered the titanium metal in 1795 in rutile from Hungary. Titanium first discoverer the reverend William Gregor, then vicar of Creed parish, named the new element “mechanite”, after the name of the Menachan Valley, in Cornwall, England, where he made its discovery. However, this name did not stick.


Though it is often implied that the name was given because of the special properties of the metal, at the time of the discovery Klaproth didn't have any idea whatsoever regarding titanium durability or strength. The perfect matching of the mythological strength of the titans and titanium high strength was a happy coincidence.

In Klaproth own words:

"Whenever no name can be found for a new fossil which indicates it’s
peculiar and characteristic properties (in which situation I find myself at
present) I think it best to choose such a denomination as means nothing
of itself, and thus can give no rise to any erroneous ideas. (Lavoisier had
suggested similar precautions for naming new elements.) In
consequence of this, as I did in the case of Uranium, I shall borrow the
name for this metallic substance from mythology, and in particular from
the Titans, the first sons of the earth. I therefore call this new metallic
genus Titanium."

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Jul 15, 2015
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by: Anonymous

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