(Gr. anti plus monos - a metal not found alone) Antimony was recognized in compounds by the ancients and was known as a metal at the beginning of the 17th century and possibly much earlier.
It is not abundant, but is found in over 100 mineral species. It is sometimes found native, but more frequently as the sulfide stibnite.
It is a poor conductor of heat and electricity. Antimony and many of its compounds are toxic.
Antimony is finding use in semiconductor technology for making infrared detectors, diodes and Hall-effect devices. It greatly increases the hardness and mechanical strength of lead. Batteries, antifriction alloys, type metal, small arms and tracer bullets, cable sheathing, and minor products use about half the metal produced. Compounds taking up the other half are oxides, sulfides, sodium antimonate, and antimony trichloride. These are used in manufacturing flame-proofing compounds, paints ceramic enamels, glass, and pottery.