In 1871 Mendeleev postulated the existence and properties of a hypothetical element situated between silicon and tin that he named eka-silicon. This element was eventually isolated by Winkler in 1886. He found it in a mineral while excavating a mine in the vicinity of Freiberg in Saxony. He gave it the name of his native country, Germania.
For a long time germanium remained a laboratory curiosity and found its use in multiple applications but was eventually superseded by silicon after a few decades.