Direction of magnetic attraction in a terrella cut in half, 1628.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving from 'De magnete' (On the magnet) by William Gilbert (1540-1603), published in Stettin, Poland, in 1628. Gilbert's experiments in magnetism, and his use of such terms as 'electric force', 'electric attraction', and 'magnetic pole', are the basis of the growth of the field of electricity. He discused the earth's magnetism by making a model - a spherical piece of loadstone called a terrella (little earth). Originally published in 1600, this book is considered the first great scientific work published in England. A new title page and engravings were added for this unauthorised second edition.