| A Lodestone is a naturally occurring piece of magnetic
iron oxide. It is often bound in a brass frame, and is oriented to place
the magnetic poles at the ends.
The word magnet comes from the region called Magnesia in Asia Minor. The word lodestone comes from the use of pieces of ore from Norway and Sweden which were suspended and used as guiding or leading stone; the Saxon word Læden means "to lead".
This example is from the apparatus collection at Colby College.
| The large lodestone at the right is 14.7x10.8x8.4
cm. It is in the Garland Collection of Classical Physics Apparatus at Vanderbilt
When constructing a lodestone, the two natural poles must first be located by the use of iron filings. The stone is then shaped appropriately. The natural poles are on the right-hand side with a soft iron keeper across them. The apparatus can be hung up by the ring on the right, and a load suspended from the keeper.
The cover is made of sheet brass with inscribed decorations on the end covers.
It is only 7 cm in length.
The lodestone at the left is at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. The maximum magnetic field is developed in the gap between the two iron vanes on the right-hand side,