Magnetic Compass

221 B.C.E.

Between 221 B.C.E. and 206 B.C.E. during the Qin Dynasty was when the magnetic compass was thought to have emerged in Ancient China.

Pliny the Elder

23 B.C.E.

Between 23 B.C.E. and 79 B.C.E., Roman Elder Pliny wrote of a hill by the Indus River that was made entirely of stone and was attracted to iron.

First Compass Reference


An English monk of St. Alban called Alexander Neckem first described the workings of a compass.

First Artificial Magnet


Gowen Knight produced the first artificial magnets for sale to scientific investigators and terrestrial navigators. He also improved the original magnetic compass.

Electricity and Magnetism


In 1820, a Dutch scientist, Hans Christian Oersted, discovered the link between electricity and magnetism when he accidentally discovers that electricity moves a compass needle.

The Electromagnet is Invented


William Sturgeon made a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron and wrapped it with a loosely wound coil. Sturgeon learned that as electricity was sent through the coil the electromagnet would become magnetized and as more electricity was flowed into it the stronger the magnetic force.

Electric Motor

May 1832

Prussian Moritz Jacobi created the first rotating electric motor with a magnet.


November 26, 1876

Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated the first telephone containing 2 electromagnets and 1 permanent horseshoe magnet.

The Curie Temperature


Frenchman Pierre Curie examined the effect of temperature on magnetic materials and discovered that magnetism disappeared suddenly when reaching a high temperature that differs for every material. This is called the Curie Temperature.

MICR is Adopted


MICR or Magnetic Ink Character Recognition was adopted into the United States banking industry. MICR is used to verify the authenticity of paper money and checks.

Rare Earth Magnets


In 1966 the first rare earth magnet was developed from Samarium-Cobalt or (SmCo5).

MRI Scanning

July 3, 1997

Magnets are used in Magnetic-Resonance imaging which creates and accurate scan of a human body. This is the day of the first test on a human being.