On the Magnet, by William Gilbert

Chap. ix.

Iron ore attracts iron ore.

F rom various substances iron (like all the rest of the * metals) is extracted: such substances being stones, earth, and similar concretions which miners call veins because it is in veins83, as it were, that they are generated. We have spoken above of the variety of these veins. If a properly coloured ore of iron and a rich one (as miners call it) is placed, as soon as mined, upon water in a bowl or any small vessel (as we have shown before in the case of a loadstone), it is attracted by a similar piece of ore brought near by hand, yet not so powerfully and quickly as one loadstone is drawn by another loadstone, but slowly and feebly. Ores of iron that are stony, cindery, dusky, red, and several more of other colours, do not attract one another mutually, nor are they attracted by the loadstone itself, even by a strong one, no more than wood, or lead, silver, or gold. Take those ores and burn, or rather roast them, in a moderate fire, so that they are not suddenly split up, or fly asunder, keeping up the fire ten or twelve hours, and gently increasing it, then let them grow cold, skill being shown in the direction in which they are placed: These ores thus prepared a loadstone will now draw, and they now show a mutual sympathy, and when skilfully arranged run together by their own forces.

83 Page 27, line 21. Page 27, line 17. venas . . . venis.— It is impossible to give in English this play on words between veins of ore and veins of the animal body.

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Last updated Friday, March 14, 2014 at 22:17