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Iron powder

Iron (/ˈərn/) is a chemical element with symbol Fe (from Latin: ferrum) and atomic number 26. It is a metal that belongs to the first transition series and is a group 8 element on the periodic table. It is the most common (32.1%) element on Earth by mass, just above oxygen (30.1%), and forms much of Earth's outer core and of Earth's inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust. In its metallic state, iron is rare in the Earth's crust, limited mainly to deposition by meteorites. Iron ores, by contrast, are among the most abundant in the Earth's crust, although extracting usable metal from them requires the use of kilns or metallurgical furnaces.


  • According to Sir Isaac Newton's Calculations, the last Comet that made its Appearance in 1680, imbib'd so much Heat by its Approaches to the Sun, that it would have been two thousand times hotter than red hot Iron, had it been a Globe of that Metal; and that supposing it as big as the Earth, and at the same Distance from the Sun, it would be fifty thousand Years in cooling, before it recovered its natural Temper. In the like manner, if an Englishman considers the great Ferment into which our Political World is thrown at present, and how intensely it is heated in all its Parts, he cannot suppose that it will cool again in less than three hundred Years. In such a Tract of Time it is possible that the Heats of the present Age may be extinguished, and our several Classes of great Men represented under their proper Characters. Some eminent Historian may then probably arise that will not write recentibus odiis [fresh hate] (as Tacitus expresses it) with the Passions and Prejudices of a contemporary Author, but make an impartial Distribution of Fame among the Great Men of the present Age.
  • Whoever hammers a lump of iron, first decides what he is going to make of it, a scythe, a sword, or an axe. Even so we ought to make up our minds what kind of virtue we want to forge or we labour in vain.
  • Iron yields to certain degrees of beatings or repeated pressure; its impenetrable molecules, purified by man and made homogeneous, disintegrate; and, without being in fusion, the metal no longer has the same virtue of resistance. Marshals, locksmiths, tool makers, all the workers who constantly work this metal then express the state of it by a word of their technology: "The iron is retty!" they say, appropriating this expression exclusively devoted to hemp, the disorganization of which is obtained by retting. Well, the human soul, or if you will the threefold energy of body, heart, and spirit, is in an iron-like situation, as a result of certain repeated shocks. It is thus with men like hemp and iron — they are retty.
    • Honoré de Balzac, Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes (The Splendors and Miseries of Courtesans), part IV. La dernière Incarnation de Vautrin (The Last Incarnation of Vautrin), Les Adieux (Farewells) (title of chapter).
  • With many a stiff thwack, many a bang,
    Hard crab-tree and old iron rang.
    Ay me! what perils do environ
    The man that meddles with cold iron!
  • 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
    34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.
    35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
    40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.
    41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.
    42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.
    43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
    45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
  • There is nothing of greater interest connected with the Durham furnace than the manufacture of iron stove plates and their artistic embellishments. ...[T]he manufacture of iron stoves, for heating of buildings, was begun at the furnace about 1741, when controlled by George Taylor, James Logan and James Morgan, father of General Daniel Morgan, iron master. These were called the "Adam and Eve" stoves from the figures, cast on them. ...In 1745, the furnace began casting the famous "Franklin Stove," or fire-place, and continued until it blew out, 1793. They were favorably received and with minor improvements, extensively manufactured. It was the first stove made that could be utilized for baking and cooking, having an extra door above the fuel door, a plate the whole length of the stove and a descending flue the same as the Prince Rupert stove, 1678, cast in England. It was improved, 1754, by a door on one side. This was known as the Philadelphia pattern, though smaller in size. The Franklin sold at £4. 6s, each at the furnace, and at Philadelphia £18 per ton, the price varying with the metal. About 1775, a stove pattern, artistically decorated with a bony skeleton inscribed on the center of the side plates, grasping a bone in one hand in the act of striking a man, near the end of the plate, while another figure on rear end of plate is standing in a frightened attitude looking on the unequal battle. Beneath the figures is the following inscription:
    A free translation of this Swedish-German is "Here (man) presumes to fight with me, bitter death, but he cannot overcome death."
    • William Watts Hart Davis, Warren Smedley Ely, John Woolf Jordan, History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania From the Discovery of the Delaware to the Present Time Vol. II (1905) p. 148.
  • A prison taint was on everything there. The imprisoned air, the imprisoned light, the imprisoned damps, the imprisoned men, were all deteriorated by confinement. As the captive men were faded and haggard, so the iron was rusty, the stone was slimy, the wood was rotten, the air was faint, the light was dim. Like a well, like a vault, like a tomb, the prison had no knowledge of the brightness outside; and would have kept its polluted atmosphere intact, in one of the spice islands of the Indian Ocean.
  • After the golden age of Latinity, we gradually slide into the silver, and at length precipitately descend into the iron.
    • Isaac D'Israeli, in The Literary Character, Illustrated by the History of Men of Genius (1795-1822), Ch. III.
  • I have been driven to assume for some time, especially in relation to the gases, a sort of conducting power for magnetism. Mere space is Zero. One substance being made to occupy a given portion of space will cause more lines of force to pass through that space than before, and another substance will cause less to pass. The former I now call Paramagnetic & the latter are the diamagnetic. The former need not of necessity assume a polarity of particles such as iron has with magnetic, and the latter do not assume any such polarity either direct or reverse. I do not say more to you just now because my own thoughts are only in the act of formation, but this I may say: that the atmosphere has an extraordinary magnetic constitution, & I hope & expect to find in it the cause of the annual & diurnal variations, but keep this to yourself until I have time to see what harvest will spring from my growing ideas.
  • Beauty in this Iron Age must turn
    From fluid living rainbow shapes to torn
    And sootened fragments, ashes in an urn
    On whose gray surface runes are traced by a Norn
    Who hopes to wake the Future to arise
    In Phoenix-fashion, and to shine with rays
    To blast the sight of modern men whose dyes
    Of selfishness and lust have stained our days...
    Reader, pray that soon this Iron Age
    Will crumble, and Beauty escape the rusting cage.
    • Philip José Farmer, "Beauty in This Iron Age" in Starlanes #11 (Fall 1953); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
  • Access to talented and creative people is to modern business what access to coal and iron ore was to steel-making.
    • Richard Florida, as quoted in The Talent Mandate, (2013) by Andrew Benett, p. 3.
  • As frequent Mention is made in the News Papers from Europe, of the Success of the Philadelphia Experiment for drawing the Electric Fire from Clouds by Means of pointed Rods of Iron erected on high Buildings, &c. it may be agreeable to the Curious to be inform'd, that the same Experiment has succeeded in Philadelphia, tho' made in a different and more easy Manner, which any one may try, as follows.
  • When iron was found, the trees began to tremble, but the iron reassured them: 'Let no handle made from you enter into anything made from me, and I shall be powerless to injure you.'
  • We can no more have exact religious thinking without theology, than exact mensuration and astronomy without mathematics, or exact iron-making without chemistry.
    • John Hall, as quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895) p. 580.
  • Instead of the copper I will bring in gold, and instead of the iron I will bring in silver, Instead of the wood, copper, and instead of the stones, iron; and I will appoint peace as your overseers, and righteousness as your task assigners.
  • What I saw in Barcelona – Gaudí – was the work of such strength, such faith, of an extraordinary technical capacity, manifested during a whole life of genius; of a man who carved the stones before his eyes in well thought out pattern. Gaudí is the ‘builder’ of the turn of the century, a man adept with stone, iron and brick.
  • And the smith his iron measures hammered to the anvil's chime;
    Thanking God, whose boundless wisdom makes the flowers of poesy bloom
    In the forge's dust and cinders, in the tissues of the loom.
  • Under a spreading chestnut tree
    The village smithy stands:
    The smith, a mighty man is he,
    With large and sinewy hands;
    And the muscles of his brawny arms
    Are strong as iron bands.
  • As great Pythagoras of yore,
    Standing beside the blacksmith's door,
    And hearing the hammers, as they smote
    The anvils with a different note,
    Stole from the varying tones, that hung
    Vibrant on every iron tongue,
    The secret of the sounding wire,
    And formed the seven-chorded lyre.
  • Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
    Minds innocent and quiet take
    That for an hermitage.
  • We put things in order — God does the rest. Lay an iron bar east and west, it is not magnetized. Lay it north and south and it is.
    • Horace Mann, as quoted in A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, both Ancient and Modern (1908) ed., Tryon Edwards; and in The Wordsworth Dictionary of Quotations (1998) ed., Connie Robertson.
  • The fact that a magnet draws iron towards it was noticed by the ancients, but no attention was paid to the force with which the iron attracts the magnet. Newton, however, by placing the magnet in one vessel and the iron in another, and floating both vessels in water so as to touch each other, showed experimentally that as neither vessel was able to propel the other along with itself through the water, the attraction of the iron on the magnet must be equal and opposite to that of the magnet on the iron, both being equal to the pressure between the two vessels.
  • In other part stood one who, at the forge
    Labouring, two massy clods of iron and brass
    Had melted.
  • With the triumph of scientific management, unions would have nothing left to do, and they would have been cleansed of their most evil feature: the restriction of output. To underscore this idea, Taylor fashioned the myth that 'there has never been a strike of men working under scientific management', trying to give it credibility by constant repetition. In similar fashion he incessantly linked his proposals to shorter hours of work, without bothering to produce evidence of "Taylorized" firms that reduced working hours, and he revised his famous tale of Schmidt carrying pig iron at Bethlehem Steel at least three times, obscuring some aspects of his study and stressing others, so that each successive version made Schmidt's exertions more impressive, more voluntary and more rewarding to him than the last. Unlike Harrington Emerson, Taylor was not a charlatan, but his ideological message required the suppression of all evidence of worker's dissent, of coercion, or of any human motives or aspirations other than those his vision of progress could encompass.
    • David Montgomery The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism, 1865-1925 (1989) p. 254.
  • Ferreus assiduo consumitur anulus usu. (The iron ring is worn out by constant use.)
    • Ovid, Ars Amatoris, Book I. 473.
  • Iron, at the same time the most useful and the most fatal instrument in the hand of mankind. For by the aid of iron we lay open the ground, we plant trees, we prepare our vineyard-trees, and we force our vines each year to resume their youthful state, by cutting away their decayed branches. It is by the aid of iron that we construct houses, cleave rocks, and perform so many other useful offices of life. But it is with iron also that wars, murders, and robberies are effected, and this, not only hand to hand, but from a distance even, by the aid of missiles and winged weapons, now launched from engines, now hurled by the human arm, and now furnished with feathery wings. This last I regard as the most criminal artifice that has been devised by the human mind; for, as if to bring death upon man with still greater rapidity, we have given wings to iron and taught it to fly.
  • The Iron never lies to you... The iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the real deal. The iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.
  • I saw a smith stand with his hammer, thus,
    The whilst his iron did on the anvil cool.
  • We used to think of cow's milk as a nearly perfect food. However, over the past several years, researchers have found new information that has caused many of us to change our opinion. This has provoked a lot of understandable controversy, but I have come to believe that cow's milk is not necessary for children. First, it turns out that the fat in cow's milk is not the kind of fat ("essential fatty acids") needed for brain development. Instead, milk fat is too rich in the saturated fats that promote artery blockages. Also, cow's milk can make it harder for a child to stay in iron balance. Milk is extremely low in iron and slows down iron absorption. It can also cause subtle blood loss in the digestive tract that causes the child to lose iron. ...Some children have sensitivities to milk proteins, which show up as ear problems, respiratory problems, or skin conditions. Milk also has traces of antibiotics, estrogens, and other things a child does not need. There is, of course, nothing wrong with human breast milk — it is perfect for infants. For older children, there are many good soy and rice milk products and even nondairy "ice creams" that are well worth trying. If you are using cow's milk in your family, I would encourage you to give these alternatives a try.
    • Benjamin Spock and Steven J. Parker, Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care (1998) p. 346.
  • The labor should include rest breaks so that the worker has time to recover from fatigue. Now one of the very first requirements for a man who is fit to handle pig iron as a regular occupation is that he shall be so stupid and so phlegmatic that he more nearly resembles in his mental make-up the ox than any other type. The man who is mentally alert and intelligent is for this very reason entirely unsuited to what would, for him, be the grinding monotony of work of this character. Therefore the workman who is best suited to handling pig iron is unable to understand the real science of doing this class of work.
  • I ordinarily begin with a description of the pig-iron handler. For some reason, I don’t know exactly why, this illustration has been talked about a great deal, so much, in fact, that some people seem to think that the whole of scientific management consists in handling pig-iron. The only reason that I ever gave this illustration, however, was that pig-iron handling is the simplest kind of human effort; I know of nothing that is quite so simple as handling pig-iron. A man simply stoops down and with his hands picks up a piece of iron, and then walks a short distance and drops it on the ground. Now, it doesn’t look as if there was very much room for the development of a science; it doesn’t seem as if there was much room here for the scientific selection of the man nor for his progressive training, nor for cooperation between the two sides; but, I can say, without the slightest hesitation, that the science of handing pig-iron is so great that the man who is fit to handle pig-iron as his daily work cannot possibly understand the science; the man who is physically able to handle pig-iron and is sufficiently phlegmatic and stupid to choose this for his occupation is rarely able to comprehend the science of handling pig-iron; and this in ability of the man who is fit to do the work to understand the science of doing his work becomes more and more evident as the work becomes more complicated, all the way up the scale. I assert, without the slightest hesitation, that the high-class mechanic has a far smaller chance of ever thoroughly understanding the science of his work than the pig-iron handler has of understanding the science of his work, and I am going to try and prove to your satisfaction, gentlemen, that the man who is fit to work at any particular trade is unable to understand the science of that trade without the kindly help and cooperation of men of a totally different type of education, men whose education is not necessarily higher but a different type from his own.
    • Frederick Winslow Taylor, Testimony of Frederick W. Taylor at Hearings Before Special Committee of the House of Representatives... (January, 1912) Reprinted in Full by Taylor Society, 1926. p. 110.
  • The magnetism as exhibited in iron is an isolated phenomenon in nature. What it is that makes this metal behave so radically different from all other materials in this respect has not yet been ascertained, though many theories have been suggested. As regards magnetism, the molecules of the various bodies behave like hollow beams partly filled with a heavy fluid and balanced in the middle in the manner of a see-saw. Evidently some disturbing influence exists in nature which causes each molecule, like such a beam, to tilt either one or the other way. If the molecules are tilted one way, the body is magnetic; if they are tilted the other way, the body is non-magnetic; but both positions are stable, as they would be in the case of the hollow beam, owing to the rush of the fluid to the lower end. Now, the wonderful thing is that the molecules of all known bodies went one way, while those of iron went the other way. This metal, it would seem, has an origin entirely different from that of the rest of the globe. It is highly improbable that we shall discover some other and cheaper material which will equal or surpass iron in magnetic qualities.
  • The significant thing about the Darbys and coke-iron is not that the first Abraham Darby "invented" a new process but that five generations of the Darby connection were able to perfect it and develop most of its applications.
    • Anthony F. C. Wallace, The Social Context of Innovation: Bureaucrats, Families, and Heroes in the Early Industrial Revolution as Foreseen in Bacon's New Atlantis (1982, 2003).
  • Do not flinch from experiences that might destroy your beliefs. The thought you cannot think controls you more than thoughts you speak aloud. Submit yourself to ordeals and test yourself in fire Relinquish the emotion which rests upon a mistaken belief, and seek to feel fully that emotion which fits the facts. If the iron approaches your face, and you believe it is hot, and it is cool, the Way opposes your fear. If the iron approaches your face, and you believe it is cool, and it is hot, the Way opposes your calm. Evaluate your beliefs first and then arrive at your emotions. Let yourself say: "If the iron is hot, I desire to believe it is hot, and if it is cool, I desire to believe it is cool."

Metallum Martis (1665)

:or, Iron made with pit-coale, sea-coale &c. and with the same fuell to melt and fine imperfect mettals, and refine perfect mettals. by Dud Dudley London, Printed by T. M. for the author. A source.
  • Having former knowledge and delight in Iron Works of my Fathers, when I was but a Youth; afterward at 20 years, Old, was I fetched from Oxford, then of Bayliol Colledge, Anno 1619, to look and manage 3 iron works of my fathers, 1 furnace, and 2 forges, in the Chase of Pensnet, in Worcester-shire, but Wood and Charcole, growing then scant, and Pit-coles in great quantities abounding near the furnace, did induce me to alter my furnace, and to attempt by my new invention, the making of iron with pit-cole, assuring myself in my invention, the loss to me could not be greater then others, not so great, "although my success should prove fruitless; but I found such success at first tryal animated me, for at my tryal or blast I made iron to profit with pit-cole, and found Facere est addere Invention!.
    • p. 5, cited in: Royal School of Mines, Great Britain, Records of the School of Mines and of Science Applied to the Arts, Vol. 1, (1852), p. 223.
  • After I had made a second blast and tryal the fesibility of making iron with pitcole and sea-cole I found by my new invention, the quality to be good and profitable, but the quantity did not exceed above 3 tuns per week.
    • p. 5
  • So that being with Law-Suites, and Riots, wearied and disabled to prosecute his Art and. Invention at present, even until the first Patent was extinct: Nothwithstanding the Author his sad. Sufferings, Imprisonments wrongfully for several thousand pound in the Counter in London, yet did obtaine a new Patent, dated the 2d of May, Anno 14. Caroli Primi of ever Blessed Memory, not only for the making of Iron into cast-works, and bars, but also for the Melting, Extracting, Refing and Reducing of all Mines, Minerals and. Mettals, with Pit-cole, Sea-cole, Peat, and Turf, for the preservation of Wood and Timber of this Island; into which Patent, the Author, for the better support and management of his Invention, so much opposed formerly at the Court, at the Parliament, and at the Law, took in David Ramasey, Esquire, Resident at the Court; Sir George Horsey, at the Parliament; Roger Foulke, Esquire, a Counsellour of the Temple, and an Ingenious Man; and also an Iron Master, my Neighbour, and one who did well know my former Sufferings, and what I had done in the Invention of making of Iron with Pit-cole, etc.
    • p. 16-17

The Iron and Steel Industries of Pennsylvania (1883)

by James M. Swank, Annual Report of the Secretary of Internal Affairs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1883) Part III, Industrial Statistics, Vol. X 1881-82, Report of the Bureau of Industrial Statistics Legislative Document, No. 7, pp. 21-22. A source.
  • There is no evidence that the Swedish and Dutch settlers on the Delaware made any attempt to manufacture iron. In the Journal of a Voyage to New York, in 1679 and 1680... it is expressly declared that iron ore had not been seen... on Tinicum island, or elsewhere in the neighborhood. Jasper Dankers says: "As to there being a mine of iron ore upon it, I have not seen any upon that island, or elsewhere; and if it were so, it is of no great importance, for such mines are so common in this country that little account is made of them."
  • In 1682... William Penn sailed up the Delaware, and in the following year... mentions the existence of "mineral of copper and iron in divers places" in his province. In 1685, speaking of "things that we have in prospect for staples of trade," he says: "I might add iron, (perhaps copper, too,) for there is much mine, and it will be granted to us that we want no wood." In 1702 he urges James Logan, the secretary of the province, to make an effort to secure the establishment of iron works by certain persons who are referred to, to which appeal Logan replies that no "considerable vein" of iron ore had yet been found by them.
  • [W]e find mention made in a [1692] metrical composition, by Richard Frame... or a successful experiment in the manufacture or iron having been made in the [Pennsylvania] province as early as that year. Frame says
    A certain place her is, where some begun
    To try some Mettle, and have made it run,
    Wherein was Iron absolutely found,
    At once was known some Forty Pound.
    The "uncertain place" mentioned... is unfortunately very uncertain. The experiment would doubtless be made in a bloomery or ordinary blacksmith's fire.
  • In 1698 Gabriel Thomas published at London an account... alluding to Pennsylvania, he says: "There is likewise ironstone or ore, lately found which far exceeds that in England, being richer and less drossy. Some preparations have been made to carry on an iron work." But neither these preparations, nor that [mentioned] by Richard Frame, led to satisfactory results.
  • The first successful attempt... to establish iron works in Pennsylvania, occurred in 1716... briefly described in one of Jonathan Dickinson's letters... [1717] quoted by Mrs. James in her Memorial of Thomas Potts Junior: "This last summer... Thomas Rutter, a smith... of his own strength has set upon making iron. ...[A]ll the smiths here... say that the best of the Sweed's iron doth not exceed it. And we have the accounts of others that are going on with iron works." Rutter's enterprise was a bloomery forge... The Pennsylvania Gazette, published... 1729-30 ..."Philadelphia, March 13. On Sunday night last died here Thomas Rutter, senior... He was the first that erected an iron work in Pennsylvania." In his will he is styled a blacksmith.
  • Dr. Benjamin Rush... was a great-grandson of Thomas Rutter. ...Mrs. James a verbatim copy of the original patent of William Penn to Thomas Rutter for three hundred acres of land "on Manahatawney creek," date February 12, 1714-15.
  • Durnham furnace, on the Delaware river... was built in 1727, by a company of fourteen persons, of which James Logan, (Penn's secretary,) was a member. Its first blast... the spring of 1728, and in November of that year James Logan shipped three tons of Durnham pig-iron to England. In 1770 there were two furnaces and two forges at Durnham. Much of the iron... was taken to Philadephia, in boats fashioned somewhat like an Indian canoe, and first built at Durnham, hence the term... "Durnham boats."
  • In 1728 James Logan wrote that "there are four furnaces in blast in the colony." Colebrook and Durnham were certainly two... The iron industry of Pennsylvania may fairly be said to have been established on a firm foundation at this period. In 1728-29 the colony exported two hundred and seventy-four tons of pig-iron to the mother country.
  • Samuel Nutt died in 1737. In his will he made provision for the erection of a new furnace by his wife... commenced in 1737 and probably finished in 1738. This... was called Warwick. In 1740 its management fell into the hands of Robert Grace, who had married into the Nutt family, and was a friend of Benjamin Franklin. In 1742 Franklin invented his celebrated stove, the model of which he presented to his friend Grace, who afterwards cast many stoves at the furnace.
    Warwick furnace continued in operation... to 1867, when its last blast came to an end... During the Revolution it was very active casting cannon for the Continental army
  • In 1751 there was a forge for the conversion of pig-iron into bar-iron at the mouth of the East Valley creek, a... tributary of the Schuylkill River... advertised for sale as the property of Daniel Walker, Stephen Evans, and Joseph Williams. It was then called Mount Joy forge... some years afterward... it came to be known as Valley Forge. The pig-iron used at Valley Forge was hauled from Warwick furnace. In September, 1777, the forge was burned by the British, and in December... the army under Washington was intrenched on the... side of Valley Creek, opposite Valley Forge. General Washington's headquarters were established at the substantial stone-house of Isaac Potts... After the Revolution another Valley Forge was built on the... [other] side of Valley creek; it was in ruins in 1816.
, on the Loadstone and Magnetic Bodies, and on The Great Magnet of the Earth. A New Physiology, Demonstrated with Many Arguments and Experiments "Electrica quae attrahunt eadem ratione ut electricum" A translation of William Gilbert's De Magnete [1600] by P. Fleury Mottelay. The book also contains Mottelay's Biographical Memoir of Gilbert and an "Address" praising De Magnete, by Edward Wright, a mathematician, cartographer, and contemporary colleague of Gilbert. A source.
  • This work of Dr Gilbert's relates chiefly to the loadstone, and what we call magnets; that is, pieces of steel which have acquired properties similar to those of the loadstone. But he extends the term magnetism and the epithet magnetic, to all bodies which are affected by loadstones and magnets, in a manner similar to that in which they affect each other. In the course of his investigations, indeed, he finds that these bodies are only such as contain iron in some state or other; and in proving this limitation he mentions a great variety of phenomena which have a considerable resemblance to those which he allows to be magnetical, namely, those which he called electrical, because they were produced in the same way that amber is made to attract and repel light bodies. He marks, with care, the distinctions between these and the characteristic phenomena of magnets. He seems to have known, that all bodies may be made electrical, while ferruginous substances alone can be made magnetical.
    • Biographical Memoir
  • Amongst the many other ingenious contrivances frequently alluded to in his book, Gilbert mentions the versorium, an iron needle moving freely upon a point, with which he was enabled to measure excited electricity. He is besides the inventor of "two most ingenious and necessarie Instruments for Sea men to find out thereby the latitude of any place upon sea or land, in the darkest night, that is without the helpe of Sunne, Moone or Starre." These instruments are described in Thomas Blunderville's quarto work entitled "The Theoriques of the seven Planets, shewing their diverse motions... printed at London 1602."
    • Biographical Memoir

Gilbert of Colchester (1903)

: Father of Electrical Science. A Reprint of the Chapter on Electrics from De Magnete by William Gilbert, Lib. 2 with Notes by Silvanus P. Thompson, F.R.S. A source.
  • By the publication in 1600 of the De Magnete of Dr. William Gilbert the science of electricity was founded. ...Trying the properties of loadstones in innumerable experiments lasting over many years, he was led to several notable discoveries, and to one generalization of immense importance. He discovered the augmentation of the power of a loadstone by arming or capping it with soft iron cheeks. Gilbert called such a cap an armatura...
  • Gilbert also discovered the screening effect of a sheet of iron; the method of magnetizing iron by hammering it while it lies North and South; the destruction of magnetism by heat; and the existence around the magnet of an "orbe of virtue," [i.e.,] a magnetic field. He perfected the dipping-needle of Norman, and other instruments of observation. He collected data as to the declination and inclination of the compass in different regions. Using loadstones of many different shapes he observed their actions on one another and on compass-needles. In particular he studied the magnetic properties of a globular loadstone or terrella and found that compass-needles were directed toward its poles, and dipped at various angles over its surface, just as compass-needles do at various regions of the earth's surface. ...His book, over which he spent eighteen years, was published in 1600, and for the next hundred years became the standard work on magnetism. Though denounced by the Church, the theory of terrestrial magnetism was by Gilbert thus firmly established on an enduring basis of fact, and remained a permanent acquisition in science. The publication of the book marked an epoch in scientific development. It was praised by Sarpi, by Galileo, by Kepler. Sir Christopher Wren proposed to erect a statue to its author, while Dryden sang of his enduring fame.

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