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probably made in London

Postcard of Magnet.
© National Museums Scotland


This permanent magnet, with a keeper to help it retain its magnetism, was made around 1800, and retailed by W. & S. Jones, scientific instrument makers based in London.

The battery of seven horse-shoe magnets joined together at similar poles, is entirely encased in a brass sheet engraved 'W. & S. JONES /30 Holborn/ LONDON'. The steel keeper has an eye from which hangs a steel hook, to enable items to be hung off it: and there is a hanging eye at the top of the magnet.

In a price list for 1799, this item was priced at £6-6-0 (£6.30). Magnetic experiments were popular demonstrations, either in formal classes or as drawing room entertainment. The horse-shoe shaped magnet (such as this example) brings the opposing poles adjacent to each other, increasing attractive power and the weight-supporting capacity.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-104-187-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1902.29.1
Date: Around 1800
c. 1800
What: Magnet, permanent, horseshoe, compound
Subject: 8. ELECTRICAL & ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING, Magnetism (Departmental Classification)
22. PHYSICS, Magnetism and Electricity (Departmental Classification)
Who: W. and S. Jones, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Compound horseshoe permanent magnet, c. 1800
  • For magnetism generally, see Turner, G. L'E., Nineteenth Century Scientific Instruments. London: 1983, pp 173-87 
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