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The INTERNET Database of Periodic Tables

There are thousands of periodic tables in web space, but this is the only comprehensive database of periodic tables & periodic system formulations. If you know of an interesting periodic table that is missing, please contact the database curator: Mark R. Leach Ph.D.

Use the drop menus below to search & select from the more than 1300 Period Tables in the database: 

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Periodic Tables from the year 1939:

1939   Irwin's Periodic Table
1939   Discovery of Francium
1939   XBL 769-10601, Periodic Table Before World War II
1939   Foster's Periodic Arrangement

Year:  1939 PT id = 627

Irwin's Periodic Table

From his paper, Periodicity Patterns of The Elements in J. Chem. Educ., 1939, 16 (7), p 335, K. Gordon Irwin presents a Periodic Chart of the Elements in Spiral Form. The paper is used to justify this formulation in terms of periodicity:


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Year:  1939 PT id = 867

Discovery of Francium


Francium, atomic number 87, has a mass of 223 au.

Radioactive element.

Francium was first observed in 1939 by M. Perey.

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Year:  1939 PT id = 943

XBL 769-10601, Periodic Table Before World War II

An internal document of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory XBL 769-10601 shows a late 1930s (pre World War II) periodic table.

Note that this formulation erroneously predicts positions for transuranium elements:

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Year:  1939 PT id = 1056

Foster's Periodic Arrangement

L.S. Foster, "Why not modernise the textbooks also? I. The periodic table", Journal of Chemical Education, vol. 16, no. 9, pp. 409–412,

Foster writes:

"The [above] modern periodic table is simply an orderly array of the elements with all unnecessary ornamentation omitted, has been found highly satisfactory for instructional purposes.

"The transitional elements, with two unfilled electron shells, are separated from the non-metallic elements.

"The rare-earth elements, defined as those with three incomplete electron shells, are shown to be those of atomic numbers 58 to 70, while La and Lu, which have only two incomplete electron shells are classified as transitional elements.

"Copper, silver, and gold act as transitional elements except when the state of oxidation is one."

René Vernon writes:

Foster couldn't show the coinage metals – with their full d10 complements – as transitional elements, but by adding a broken line around them he was showing they had the capacity to act as if they were.

I tried to work out how he distinguished La & Lu from Ce to Yb. Foster seems to be saying that La 5d1 6s2, has incomplete 5th and 6th (ie. 6p) shells.

Same for Lu 4f14 5d1 6s2 having incomplete 5th and 6th shells. Whereas, for example, Ce 4f1 5d1 6s2 has incomplete 4th, 5th and 6th shells. Presumably this was in the years before the fact that the 4f shell became full at Yb was widely appreciated. So, strictly speaking, group 3a should have read:

On the other hand, Yb3+ has an f13 configuration, so it does meet his three unfilled shells criterion. Had he known, he probably would've put a broken line around Yb to indicate its full f14 complement but that it normally acted as a rare earth, with an incomplete 4f shell; whereas neither La nor Lu have this capacity.

Good to see Foster put so much thought into organising his table, and his experience with using it for instructional purposes.

Van Spronsen does not mention Forster's table. Mazurs has a reference to Foster's table but lumps it in with the other medium-long tables, not appreciating its subtlety.

Mark Leach writes:

This formulation is very much like the XBL 769-10601, Periodic Table Before World War II used by Seaborg and the Manhattan project and is a precursor to the modern periodic table.

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What is the Periodic Table Showing? Periodicity

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