On the Magnet, by William Gilbert

Chap. xiii. Wrought iron has in itself certain parts Boreal and Austral: A magnetick vigour, verticity, and determinate vertices, or poles.

I ron settles itself toward the North and South; not with one and the same point toward this pole or that: for one end of the piece of ore itself and one extremity also of a wrought-iron wire have a sure and constant destination to the North, the other to the South, whether the iron hang in the air, or float on water, be the iron large rods or thinner wires. Even if it be a little rod, or a wire ten or twenty or more ells in length; one end as a rule is Boreal, the other Austral. If you cut off part of that wire, and if the end of that divided part were Boreal, the other end (which was joined to it) will be Austral. Thus if you divide it into several parts, before making an experiment on the surface of water, you can recognize the vertex86. In all of them a Boreal end draws an Austral and repels a Boreal, and contrariwise, according to the laws magnetical. Yet herein wrought iron differs from the loadstone and from its own ore, inasmuch as in an iron ball of any size, such as those used for artillery or cannon, or bullets used for carbines or fowling-pieces, verticity is harder to acquire and is less apparent than in a piece of loadstone, or of ore itself, or than in a round loadstone. But in long and extended pieces of iron a power is at once discerned; the causes of which fact, and the methods by which it acquires its verticity and its poles without use of a loadstone, as well as the reasons for all the other obscure features of verticity, we shall set forth in describing the motion of direction.

86 Page 31, line 30. Page 31, line 25. verticem.— The context and the heading of the Chapter appear to require verticitatem. All editions, however, read verticem.


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