... // Zhurnal Russkogo khimicheskogo obshchestva [i.e. Journal of the Russian Chemical Society]. Vol.1, parts ii-iii. St. Petersburg, 1869. Pp. 60-77 (journal: , 2, 274,  pp.). 21x14 cm. In contemporary quarter leather with gilt lettering on the spine. Very good. Binding slightly rubbed with loss of small fragments of leather on the spine, occasional foxing in the text.
The periodic table of elements is a fundamental tool in the understanding of chemistry today. It categorizes elements by atomic number, electron configurations and
recurring chemical properties. Some elements were only discovered because the Table existed, and it is now impossible to imagine chemistry without it.
The very first periodic table was published in Russian chemical magazine by Dmitry Mendeleev in May of 1869. Mendeleev was the first to recognize that the
apparent randomness of elements fitted into a system. Furthermore, he suggested that the gaps in his system would later be filled with elements yet unknown to the
scientific world. He was proved right. He had rejected the common practice of placing elements in the order of their atomic weight. He put the elements in order of their
nuclear charge before such a phenomenon had been discovered (it was not adequately understood until the existence of protons and neutrons had been proven).
In 1866 Mendeleev became professor of general chemistry at the University of St. Petersburg. Finding that no modern organic chemistry textbook existed in Russian, Mendeleev decided to write one. It was in the course of this project that he made his most important contribution to chemistry. By 1869 the main idea of underlying principle connecting the elements was already formed by Mendeleev. In one of his conversations with his friend A.A. Inostrantsev, he even said that he had everything in his head, but he could not bring it to the table. After that, according to the biographers of Mendeleev, he began to work painstakingly on his table, which lasted three days without a break for sleep. On February 14, 1869, Mendeleev was working on the chapter that would discuss the elements. He transcribed his notes onto a set of cards, one for each element containing everything he knew about that element. Tradition has it that after organising the cards while playing patience he suddenly realised that by arranging the element cards in order of increasing atomic weight that certain types of element regularly occurred. Exhausted, Mendeleev fell asleep. When he awoke, he devised a grouping of the elements by common property in ascending order of atomic weight. He called his innovation the Periodic Table of the
Elements. Many people heard the story that the scientist had a dream of his table. But the scientist himself refuted this whole story with a dream, saying: ‘‘I thought about it, maybe twenty years, but you think: I was sitting and suddenly ... ready’’. So the legend about a dream can be very attractive, but the creation of a table became possible only through hard work.
Shortly after, his ideas were presented to the Russian Chemical Society. They were read by Professor Menschutkin because Mendeleev was away. It was published
in the Journal of Russian Chemical Society and later the same year in the prestigious German journal Zeitschrift für Chemie. Since the German journals were known to every research chemist, Mendeleev’s Periodic Table became widely known almost at once. Although details of the tables were subject to argument, and many newly discovered elements were later added, the basic principle of organization behind the table was quickly accepted.
Full table appeared in ‘Osnovy khimii’ [i.e. The Princeples of Chemistry] in 1871.