Lodestone or loadstone refers to either:

* Magnetite, a magnetic mineral form of iron(II), iron(III) oxide Fe3O4, one of several iron oxides.

* A piece of intensely magnetic magnetite that was used as an early form of magnetic compass.

Iron, steel and ordinary magnetite are attracted to a magnetic field, including the Earth's magnetic field. Only magnetite with a particular crystalline structure, lodestone, can act as a natural magnet and attract and magnetize iron. The name "magnet" comes from lodestones found in a place called Magnesia.

In China, the earliest literary reference to magnetism lies in a 4th century BCE book called "Book of the Devil Valley Master" (鬼谷子): "The lodestone makes iron come or it attracts it."Li Shu-hua, “Origine de la Boussole 11. Aimant et Boussole,” "Isis", Vol. 45, No. 2. (Jul., 1954), p.175] The earliest mention of the attraction of a needle appears in a work composed between 20 and 100 CE ("Louen-heng"): "A lodestone attracts a needle." By the 12th century the Chinese were known to use the lodestone compass for navigation. Also vikings used lodestone for navigation.


External links

* [http://www.phy6.org/earthmag/lodeston.htm Lodestone]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lodestone — Lode stone , n. (Min.) Same as {Loadstone}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lodestone — magnetically polarized oxide of iron, 1510s, lit. way stone, from LODE (Cf. lode) + STONE (Cf. stone) (n.). So called because it was used to make compass magnets to guide mariners. Figurative use from 1570s …   Etymology dictionary

  • lodestone — lodestone, loadstone noun (C, U) old use iron, or a piece of iron that acts as a magnet (1) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • lodestone — (also loadstone) ► NOUN ▪ a piece of magnetite or other naturally magnetized mineral, able to be used as a magnet …   English terms dictionary

  • lodestone — [lōd′stōn΄] n. [ LODE + STONE] 1. any strongly magnetized rock, esp. one containing magnetite 2. something that attracts as with magnetic force …   English World dictionary

  • lodestone — UK [ˈləʊdˌstəʊn] / US [ˈloʊdˌstoʊn] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms lodestone : singular lodestone plural lodestones a type of iron that attracts other iron or steel …   English dictionary

  • Lodestone — Loadstone Load stone , Lodestone Lode stone, n. [Load, lode + stone.] (Min.) A piece of magnetite, a magnetic iron ore, possessing polarity like a magnetic needle, having the power to attract as well as to be attracted magnetically. See… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lodestone — lodestar, lodestone are the preferred spellings, not load …   Modern English usage

  • lodestone — n. (also loadstone) 1 magnetic oxide of iron, magnetite. 2 a a piece of this used as a magnet. b a thing that attracts. * * * lodestone see loadstone …   Useful english dictionary

  • lodestone — noun Etymology: obsolete lode course, from Middle English Date: circa 1515 1. magnetite possessing polarity 2. something that strongly attracts …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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