Escutcheons of Science
 Axel Fredrik Cronstedt

Franz-Joseph Müller  Freiherr  von Reichenstein  (1742-1825)
Austrian mineralogist who discovered Tellurium in 1783

The above is a copyrighted picture reproduced here by permission.  © 2008   by Jochen Wilke.
[ Sources:   Freiherr von Reichenstein   |   Tinctures ]

No blazon :   J. Wilke  based the above rendition entirely on the graphical sources quoted.  He noticed that the central crest is a canting element for "Reichenstein", representing an Austrian Imperial Eagle  (Reich = Empire)  holding a stone  (Stein).  The Austrian Eagle is armed and legged Or, which is how Wilke represented it in the crest.  However, he chose to avoid the tincture problem of the Austrian Imperial arms themselves  (Or on Or)  by letting the eagle on the shield be crowned, armed and legged Gules instead.  (Actually, the Reichenstein eagle might have been legged Sable.)

   1992 Austrian stamp for the 250th
 anniversary of Franz-Joseph Mueller

Baron  Franz-Joseph Müller von Reichenstein  (1742-1825)  was born on Poysdorf, Niederösterreich  (Lower Austria)  on October 4, 1742.  His  250th  birthday was duly commemorated in 1992 by an Austrian stamp.

Incidentally, this serves to invalidate officially many reports that he would have been born instead on July 1, 1740 in  Transylvania, at Nagyszeben  (Hermannstadt).

In Hungarian,  Franz-Joseph Müller  was known as  Müller F. József.  He became the main overseer of Transylvanian mines and took it upon himself to analyze a bluish gold ore known as  German Gold.  In 1782, he found that mineral to contain no antimony  (121.76 g/mol)  against previously accepted wisdom.  Instead, he first suggested that the ore might be gold and bismuth sulphide.  In 1783, however, he came to the firm conclusion that a new chemical element  (127.6 g/mol)  was involved, which he dubbed  metallum problematicum [sic!].  Von Reichenstein then sent samples for confirmation to the University of Uppsala in Sweden, where the renowned Swedish chemist and mineralogist  Torbern Bergman  (1735-1784)  died before he could complete the analysis...  Tellurium Crystal 
 (length = 20 mm)

Twelve years later, samples were forwarded to the German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth (1743-1817) who confirmed isolation of a new element before the Academy of Sciences of Berlin, on January 25, 1798.  Klaproth started to investigate the chemical properties of that new element,  which he called  Tellurium,  and gave Müller von Reichenstein full credit for the discovery.  He did not mention the Hungarian chemist Paul Kitaibel (1757-1817), who had discovered the new element independently in 1789 and had handed over his report to Klaproth in 1796.

Tellurium (Te, Z=52) is actually a  semiconductor  chemically similar to Selenium (Se, Z=34) and radioactive Polonium (Po, Z=84).  With Oxygen (O, Z=8) and Sulphur (S, Z=16) all those elements are in the same column of the  periodic table and are collectively known as  chalcogens.

Tellurium   |   Wikipedia      Franz-Joseph Mueller von Reichenstein
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