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History of Manganese

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Manganese can be traced back to the Stone Age. Men were already using manganese dioxide as a pigment for their cave paintings during the upper paleolithic period, 17.000 years ago. Later in Ancient Greece , the presence of manganese in the iron ore used by the Spartans is a likely explanation as to why their steel weapons were superior to those of their enemies.

Manganese has also long been related to glass-making. The Egyptians and the Romans used manganese ore either to decolorize glass or to give it pink, purple and black tints. It has been continually used for this purpose until modern times.

Manganese 1774

Manganese metal was isolated by Gahn in 1774. He reduced the dioxide (MnO2, as the mineral pyrolusite) with charcoal (essentially carbon) by heating and the result was a sample of the metal manganese.

Manganese 1923

The first economically exploitable manganese deposit in South Africa was proved by intensive prospecting between 1923 and 1926 on the farm Gloucester in the Northern Cape Province and is found along a ridge between Postmasburg and Sishen.

Manganese 1958

The 1958 WHO International Standards for Drinking-water suggested that concentrations of manganese greater than 0.5 mg/litre would markedly impair the potability of the water. The 1963 and 1971 International Standards retained this value as a maximum allowable or permissible concentration. In the first edition of the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality, published in 1984, a guideline value of 0.1 mg/litre was established for manganese, based on its staining properties.

Manganese 1970

Beginning in the late 1970s and early 1980s, lawsuits against companies in the welding industry began appearing. These lawsuits brought claims against not only the manufacturers of welding rods, but also against some of the welding industry's trade organizations.

Manganese Sources:

International Standards for Drinking-water, Geneva, World Health Organization, 1958

International Standards for Drinking-water, 2nd ed., Geneva, World Health Organization, 1963

International Standards for Drinking-water, 3rd ed., Geneva, World Health Organization, 1971

Guidelines for drinking-water quality, Volume 1, Recommendations, Geneva, World Health Organization, 1984

Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 2nd ed., Volume 1, Recommendations, Geneva, World Health Organization, 1993

Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 2nd ed., Addendum to Volume 1, Recommendations, Geneva, World Health Organization, 1998

Report of Drinking Water Quality Committee Meeting, Berlin, 5–9 June 2000 (draft), Geneva, World Health Organization, 2000


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