Mercury, or HERMES, in Greek mythology, the sun of Zeus and the messenger of the gods. He was the patron of the thieves, of travelers, of merchants, of rain, and of good fortune and of eloquence, and is sometimes called the god of the wind. He began his career by stealing the oxen of Apollo when only a few hours old, and inventing a lyre out of a tortoise shell at the same early age. He was connected with the everyday life of the Greeks more than any other god. His images were found on mountains, by streams, in the streets of their cities, over the doors of their gymnasiums, and were used as guideposts on their roads and to mark the boundaries of their states. He is represented in art with a staff, wings on his feet or shoulders and a low, broad brimmed on his head. Some of the most beautiful specimens of Greek art are statues of Hermes, notably one by Praxiteles. Mercury is the Latin name for the Greek god Hermes.
Mercury, or QUICKSILVER, is the only metal that is fluid when not heated, which gives it the same fluid silver. It is of a silvery white color, and runs on a smooth surface, in separate round drops. If it is not pure the drops will have a tail. Heat expands it, and cold freezes it, which explains its use in a thermometer, the range being more than 300 degrees. Native mercury or quicksilver occurs in small quantities, usually in connection with mercurial ores. These ores of which the most important is called cinnabar, are burned in a furnace, and the sulfur, which is combined with the mercury, passed off as sulfurous acid, and the mercury can be collected in a condensing chamber. The Greeks and Phoenicians procured cinnabar from Almaden(the Maiden), Spain. After the discovery of America, the mercury of Peru was famous. The larger part of the mercury used now comes from California, and most of it comes from one mine, called the New Almaden(New Maiden. Mercury unites with other metals to form what are called amalgams, and this property is made use of in extracting gold and silver from their ores. The amalgam of mercury and tin is used in silvering mirrors and tin is used in silvering mirrors, while others are used in gilding, and filling teeth. It is used largely in the making of philosophical instruments and in the laboratory and some forms of it are used in medicine.