Tungsten dates back to medieval German and Swedish smelters. Its name is derived from the Swedish words tung sten, meaning heavy stone. Its chemical symbol W, is derived from the German wolfram, the old name of the tungsten mineral wolframite.
In 1779 Irish chemist Peter Woulfe deduced the existence of a new element – tungsten – from his analysis of the mineral wolframite (an iron manganese tungstate mineral).
Tungsten was isolated as tungstic oxide (WO3) in Sweden in 1781 by Carl W. Scheele, from the mineral scheelite (calcium tungstate). However he did not have a suitable furnace to reduce the oxide to the metal.
Tungsten was finally isolated by brothers Fausto and Juan Jose de Elhuyar in 1783, in Spain, by reduction of acidified wolframite with charcoal.