Magnetic toy, 1765.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This magnetic toy was made by George Adams, instrument maker to the king. The box originally contained six heart-shaped pieces made of silver, gold, tin, copper, iron and lead respectively. Each piece contains a small magnet set at different orientation. If the lid of the box was closed and the compas in the ivory tube placed on top of the box, the needle pointed to the first letter of the metal directly below. This toy was invented by the Duc de Pequigny.