PLATINUM. The first published notice of platinum is contained in the his tonca del viage a la America Meridional,' is sued in Madrid in 1748, wherein Don Antonio de Ulloa, one of the members of a French ex pedition for the measurement of an arc of the meridian, records his observation of the metal about 1735, in the district of Choc& in what is now the Republic of Colombia. Here it bore the name "platina del Pinto* as it had been discovered in washings on the Rio Pinto; the name aplatinap properly signifies *little silver.* In 1741 Dr. William Brownrigg received in London some specimens of the ore, sent to him from Jamaica by his relative, Charles Wood, who in turn had received them from the South American port of Cartagena, but had not been able to learn their exact origin. Wood stated that the Spaniards must have learned the art of fusing it, as they had already made numerous ornamental objects of it, such as sword-hilts, buckles, snuff-boxes, etc. Hence it appears evident that they must have dis covered the metal many years before the date when it was first seen by Ulloa. The earliest scientific determination of platinum was made almost contemporaneously by Dr. Brownrigg, whose results were communicated to the Royal Society through Sir William Watson in 1751, and by the Swedish chemist Theophilus Scheffer, who laid his results in the same year before the Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. The latter received his specimens from Madrid, through a friend named Rodenskimld. After oronounc ing it to be as perfect metal, as stable as gold or silver,* Scheffer proceeds to declare that nature most closely approaches that of gold,* from which it differed, however, by its tenac ity, color, hardness and the degree of heat necessary for its fusion. The name "white gold' was chosen as a designation for platinum in the earliest known volume treating exclu sively of it, published in Pans in 1758, and be lieved to have been written by Jean Morin, at one time professor of chemistry in a college at Chartres, France.* This little work gives French translations of all the scant platinum literature extant at that time. The use of platinum in the making of gold counterfeits is alluded to in the 'Encyclopedic' of Diderot and d'Alembert, published in 1774, wherein it is stated that some Hollanders on the South American coast had been deceived by having spurious gold ingots largely composed of platinum passed off on them. For this they took summary vengeance, as on their next voy age to the coast they seized the offending Spaniards and strung them up to the yard arms of the Dutch ships. At. about the same period, or not long after, a number of Spanish doubloons of platinum, with a thin nlating of gold, were struck and successfully passed for a time. As platinum was then many times less valuable than gold such counterfeits realized a handsome profit for their dishonest fabri cators, but to-day one of these counterfeit doubloons, the gold value of which if genuine would be about $8, would be intrinsically worth as much as $40. In the early part of the last century a number of similar counter feits of United States $10 and $20 gold coins were made; several of which found their way to the Philadelphia Mint. Later still, however,
from 1828 to 1845, a bona-fide platinum coin age was struck in Russia in denominations of 1, 3, 6 and 12 rubles; the coins contained some 2 per cent of iridium. The coinage value of the platinum was reckoned at about $7.15 a troy ounce, but at the present price a three ruble piece instead of being worth $2.32 would bring nearly $35 of our money. Of these Rus sian coins 1,392,012 pieces were struck, having an aggregate weight of 473,907 troy ounces, or 14,738 kilos, and worth at the present price of the metal (1919) nearly $50,000,000.
The honor of making the first platinum mass in Europe has been accorded to the French chemist Chabaneau, who accomplished the task in 1783 in Madrid, whither he had been called by Charles III to fill a special chair of mineralogy, physics and chemistry. This ingot weighed about 23 kilograms (some 740 ounces troy). At about this time Chaba neau made what is asserted to have been the first platinum article manufactured in Spain a chalice which was bestowed by Charles III upon Pope Pius VI (1775-1800). The dedica tory inscription records that the chalice was made from ((The first fruits of platinum ren dered ductile by A. Fr c0 Chavaneau.D Almost contemporaneously the French chemist Achard worked the metal by alloying it with arsenic and then expelling the arsenic by heat. The method of making a compact metal out of platinum sponge by means of compression is said to have originated in 18(R) with the Eng lishman, Thomas Cocke, although the credit has often been given to Wollaston. The modern method, by fusion before the oxyhydrogen flame, is credited to Dr. Hare of Philadelphia, who in 1837 produced in this way a homogene ous mass of platinum weighing 28 ounces (870 grams). The method was perfected by the French chemists Debray and Deville, and in the London Exhibition of 1862 the great English firm of platinum refiners, Johnson and Matthey, showed an ingot weighing 200 troy pounds, or nearly 75 kilograms. A platiniridium ingot made in Paris in 1874, in the course of the experiments to obtain proper material for the international metric standards, weighed 525 pounds. The ingot from which the standards were eventually cut was made by Johnson and Matthey. Platinum was found in the gold mines of Dakovlov, in the Urals, Russia, in 1819, in the sands of Neviansk, Bilimbayensk, in 1822. and in the Kurshinsk factories in 1824. In 1825 the rich deposits of the Nizhni-Tagilsk district were discovered. The largest platinum nugget met with in Russia came from this re gion; it weighed funts, or 9,628.88 grams (25 pounds, 9.45 ounces troy). Colombia, the first region where platinum was ever discovered and used, continues to furnish a notable quan tity, the greatest of any land excepting Russia, though its production falls normally very far short of that of the latter land, which before the Great War supplied from 90 to 95 per cent of the entire production. The largest nugget found in Colombia weighed 800 grams; next to this comes one weighing 635 grams and con per cent of pure platinum.