Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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Jens Nordlunde 12th February 2005 02:20 PM

Magnetic weapons
Lodestone, or magnetic stone with iron, have been known to exist in India for several thousand years, and was very early used for the first compasses, as it, when put on water will turn so it points north south.
Does anyone know if it was used for weapons?
Maybe the content of iron was too little, or maybe it was too soft.
What is the reason that we hear so much about wootz and so little about the magnetic lodestone?

When you forge you will need heat and a hammer, and when you cast you will need heat – both heat and hammering kills magnetism. So whatever magnetism a dagger or a sword have, it must have been made after the weapon was finished.
I have a tulwar where the blade is magnetic on the middle but fades out, it can pull the needle from N to ESE or about 130 degrees, but the hilt can pull the needle all the way around
It is known that cast iron is easier to magnetize than forged iron, due to the rough structure of the iron, but it is also known, that cast iron looses the magnetism easier than forged iron. The finer the structure is the harder it is to magnetise the blade, but the longer it will stay magnetised. I don’t know how long time it would take, for a wootz blade to loose its magnetism, or for a cast item for that matter, but if a blade has been magnetised from the start, and it is, maybe two hundred years old, there is reason to believe that some of the magnetism has been lost – but how much?

Why make a blade magnetic, and a magnetic hilt is an even bigger puzzle. The only answer I can come up with at the moment is, that only few knew how to magnetise, and that a magnetised blade was magical. But is that the right answer?
Does anyone know the answer, and those of you who have magnetic blades, are this blade of high or of average quality?

On this page you can read about magnetism, it is rather interesting.
And on this one too.

Please take a number and queue up before answering


Mare Rosu 12th February 2005 03:28 PM

Number one
"Please take a number and queue up before answering"

You pose a very interesting question on blade magnetism.
I have for the last week or so been testing my wootz daggers for magnetic fields. One I call the Mysore dagger has some very unusual properties (at least to me that is ) starting at he hilt end of the blade a compass will change direction four times! with the needle pointing N then S then N and then S again at the tip of the 12" blade. I have no idea as to how this magnetic properties were "added" to the blade or for what reason if in fact it was done knowingly at all. I have two Wootz ingots that are original ( not forged into a blade ) that show no such magnetic properties, which would lead one to believe that the magnetic properties were "added" after the blade was completed.
I am in the process of working up a visual display of the magnetic fields on this dagger and will post pictures when and if it works out.
Again you pose a very interesting subject/question, you do have a tendency to ask hard questions. :)

Jens Nordlunde 12th February 2005 03:33 PM

Thank you Gene. Your dagger sounds to be rather unusual, and very interesting :rolleyes: .
When I wrote the thread I must have been somewhat unconcentratet, as I forgot to give a link to the lodestone, here it is - sorry.


fearn 12th February 2005 03:36 PM

Hi Mare Rosu,

Can you make up a story about the magnetized knife lying on top of a horseshoe magnet or two at some point (the legs of the horseshoe perpendicular to the blade). That would give the magnetic pattern you describe.

I suppose the other way you could magnetize a blade is to put it inside a big coil for a while with the power on. I think the problem there would be keeping the blade from acting like the center of a solenoid and getting shot out, possibly at high speed.... :D

Neat stuff. My question is, why would anyone want to do it, unless it's the usual "sword mysticism" kicking in?

nechesh 12th February 2005 04:02 PM

Jens, you may find the very first thread i posted of this forum of interest:
I have been very interested in this subject for some time. For me, the answer to why magnetize a blade is indeed "sword mysticism" kicking in. The first thing i do when i receive a new keris is to check it for magnetic polarity. Most often it is farly weak or dead, but i have received a few blades with a very strong polarity. But even if the polarity is gone i create it. It is a VERY simple process. I have a very powerful magnet that i place the tip of the keris on, and after reciting a few highly secret magickal incantations :rolleyes:, it is done. I hold the blade there for less that a minute, so it really does not take much. Why do this? Well, i don't use my keris to cut, at least not in the mundane sense. ;) Polarizing the magnetic flow of the blade increases it's effectiveness as a conduit for energy. The entire universe operates of the interaction between strong and weak magnetic fields. This is occult science gentlemen, so please feel free to roll your eyes. :rolleyes: :)

Rivkin 12th February 2005 05:27 PM

I'm sorry if my idea will be completely stupid, but I don't find it to be a proof of "magnetization on purpose".

Very small pieces of pure iron (and most steels) are magnetic (ferromagnetic) due to their nature. It looses it's magnetic properties when heated, but regains them when cooled - to what extent depends on the way the cooling is performed. If it's rapid the magnetization after the cooling will probably be small, If it's gradual the sample will fully regain the full magnetization (ordering), which will mostly depend on sample's shape and chemical composition.

Now if the piece is not a microscopic one, then the magnetization is due to the fact that when the large piece is cooled it has to be under the influence of magnetic fields (magnetic field of the earth -this is actually how we know that it did decrease during the past 1000 years, anvil, hammers etc.). So if one has a sword that has nonuniform magnetization it can be that this sword for example was wielded from a few different pieces. It can be that the chemical composition varies from side to side (sulfa, chromium I think do kill magnetization quite easily). It can be that while cooled it was lying next to a huge magnetized hammer, so that the external field itself was extremely nonuniform.

Again, the way cooling is performed is very important. Very rapid cooling usually prevents the formation of a magnetized state. So if the blade for example is differentially heat treated it is possible that it simply has different magnetic states present due to this fact.

Such swords rather then becoming demagnetized with time would first actually become uniformly magnetized, and then would assume some magnetization due to the current earth's magnetic field (if it lies in the same place all the time), however it's even a big question if this _ever_ happens (it well may be that the current magnetized state is so efficient that it should take unphysically long time to change it using weak fields and temperatures).

Sincerely yours,


Rivkin 12th February 2005 05:29 PM

And yes, placing a very powerful magnet (or taking it to a site of huge iron deposits) will "fix" the new magnetization even in a forged sword.

Yannis 12th February 2005 05:37 PM

As they say, experiment is the base of science. ;)

So, I carried out an experiment with my collection. All my blades passed 2cm away from a compass. Observations:

1. About 40% of them moved the needle.
2. No matter if the blade was antique wootz or 20th century factory made.
3. No matter if the blade is sort or long.
4. Most of the magnetized blades had north polarity in the tip.
5. Some long blades look like they change polarity in their length. They changed the direction of the needle few times as they were passing by.
6. And the winner is… an ottoman kard! This thin 6 inches blade forced the needle to do circles like maniac! Second winner a Caucasian kindjal that made the compass to do a full circle.

Conclusion? The magnetized blades are a funny hour. Sorry mystics. The truth is still out there :D

Mare Rosu 12th February 2005 08:10 PM

Good question Fearn
"Can you make up a story about the magnetized knife lying on top of a horseshoe magnet or two at some point (the legs of the horseshoe perpendicular to the blade). That would give the magnetic pattern you describe."

Good question, I measured the distance from each change of the compass needle and as best as I can tell it is this; start and then 4 1/2" it changes and then back again at 7 1/2" and back again at 12" so the "legs' of the horse shoe magnet if used were not of equal distance.

Jens Nordlunde 12th February 2005 08:48 PM

The trick with the number seems as it if was a good idea – and I am very pleased J.

Thank you for your answers so far – and thank you very much for keeping so close to the topicJ

Gene you must have been watching when I put the thread on, as you were very fast, and the story you tell is just what it is all about – thank you.

Fearn, what you write sounds interesting, but is it something that you know, or something that you think? Thank you Gene good point!

Nechesh – I can’t say that I agree with you about magnetising blade anew, on the other hand, I think it must be up to the owner of the blade.

Rivkin, thank you for your input. What you write is important, and I do very much agree with you that the cooling of a sword means a lot to how the magnetism is preserved. I do however have some problems with what you write when you write: Such swords rather then becoming demagnetized with time would first actually become uniformly magnetized, and then would assume some magnetization due to the current earth's magnetic field (if it lies in the same place all the time), however it's even a big question if this _ever_ happens (it well may be that the current magnetized state is so efficient that it should take unphysical long time to change it using weak fields and temperatures.
Somewhere I read that the magnetism of the Earth was so weak that it would make little or no influence on a sword, although it was lying for a long time in the same place.

Do you have any comments to this. If you do, please come with themJ.

Yannis. 1. Your percentage is bigger than mine, although I have not tried all mine blade as yet.
2, 3-4 Same here.
5. Funny I have the same feeling – I wonder why?
6. Can’t beat that – if the needle circles like a maniac, it must be wild, the magnetism must be really strong. Do you know how old the kard and the kinjal are?

Gene we will look forward to the pictures of the magnet felt.

Thank you very much so far


fearn 12th February 2005 10:29 PM

Hi Jens,

That's something I think. I'm having fun contemplating magnetism in blades for a couple of reasons:

1. It exists.

2. It exists in folded blades,

3. It exists in tempered blades.

1. is self-evident (and I'm enjoying reading these accounts). As for 2., well, if a sheet of magnetized steel is folded over itself, doesn't it cancel out? What about if it's folded over itself a bunch of times? 3., What happens to magnetization when a blade is differentially heat treated? Since the crystal structure is getting deformed, I'm still puzzling out whether this would affect a magnetic field. Basically, I don't see a straight route from magnetite to a blade without remagnetizing the blade after it's manufactured.

Balanced against all this skepticism are the observations people are reporting here. Perhaps there's a way for a hunk of magnetite to retain its magnetism after it's been folded, tempered, heat treated (and possibly alloyed). Personally, I think the magnetic field came later. As Nechesh points out, it's quite easy to do. As to where those asymmetric fields up and down blades came from, I think that an experiment with some magnets and a non-magnetized sword are in order :)

Fearn (not Fern, thanks!)

nechesh 12th February 2005 11:00 PM

Originally Posted by Yannis
Conclusion? The magnetized blades are a funny hour. Sorry mystics. The truth is still out there :D

Sorry Yannis. i'm not sure i understand your statement or what exactly the "truth" is in this case.

Jens, you are, of course, welcome not to magnetize your blades if you choose. I wasn't necessarily advocating it, just stating it as a practice, but i am curious why you "disagree" with the practice. :confused:

Rivkin 12th February 2005 11:13 PM

Originally Posted by Jens Nordlunde
Somewhere I read that the magnetism of the Earth was so weak that it would make little or no influence on a sword, although it was lying for a long time in the same place.

Do you have any comments to this. If you do, please come with themJ.

That's why I wrote "however it's even a big question if this _ever_ happens". In general I would say that magnetic field of the earth is strong enough to magnetize all the ancient pottery. It's way more tricky with swords and big iron objects in general. I'm pretty sure that in a cool place 5000-10000 years of lying in the same place will certainly make a difference, and may be it will make a lot of difference if the sword is heated up and sloooowly cooled down.

In short there are so many parameters (defects in the crystalline structure, historical facts like being made in the place with iron deposits, macroscopic shape etc.) that can affect any sword's magnetization that it's impossible to guess "why ?".

Robert 13th February 2005 12:26 AM

This is something that I learned along time ago. Take an iron bar and point it so one end is pointing north and the other is pointing south (using a compass) and strike the south pointing end with a hammer. The bar will magnetize. Maybe someone has tried this with swords? :D

Jim McDougall 13th February 2005 05:04 AM

Although I cannot claim any aptitude toward physics, I cannot resist being 'drawn' :) to this fascinating thread!! As always, Jens poses intriguing questions on most unusual topics.

The subject of metallurgy as applied in the blades of edged weapons has often been discussed here, as has the more esoteric aspect of the use of meteoric iron, but little concerning magnetic properties in blades has been considered. The exception, as has been noted by Nechesh, was his post of several years ago and is linked in his previous post.

The presence of lodestones, or magnetite with the iron attracting properties discussed, has been known since early Greek times. Other than being considered an interesting anomaly, it does not seem that this curious material keyed any special purpose. One of the primary features of magnetism has been its use in navigation and the development of the compass, but this apparantly did not occur until about the end of the 11th century AD in China.
There are no references in old Greek and Roman literature about the directive properties of magnetic material (the term magnet came from the Greek term for people called the Magnetes who lived in Magnesia,in Thessaly).
The first use of crude compasses at sea is reported by the Chinese, and believed to refer to those used by Muslim traders in regions between Canton and Sumatra in latter 11th c.
There was little attention given to magnetic navigation in the west until the latter 16th century with most attention applied to celestial navigation, aside from isolated interest.

Since lodestone, or magnetite was so little known through these periods of history, and certain ferromagnetic metals such as nickel and cobalt were not identified until the 18th and 19th centuries, it does not seem that there would have been any deliberate attention given to applying magnetic properties in forged steel in early times. It does seem however, that the occurence of such forces would have inspired mystical and occult attention, along with other natural phenomenon such as meteoric iron.

Although as I have noted, I cannot add much to the discussion on the physical properties of magnetism, I just wanted to share some observations that pertain to the historical perspective,

Best regards,

Yannis 13th February 2005 09:31 AM

There are 2 Magnesia in greek world. The one you mention is an area in central Greece that includes mount Pelion. It is there that in myths the wise Centauri lived. The second one is a city. Magnesia on the Meander (river) was in Ionia (Asia Minor). It was destroyed by Cimmerians and rebuild. Its most famous child was Pausanias the great geographer of the 2nd century A.D. Both places are claiming the origin of the term “magnetism”. Also there is a third story of a Cretan shepherd that found the phenomenon. His name was Magnes.

The kindjal is hallmarked late 19th century. I estimate the kard early 19th. This kard is a real magnet. It can easy hold a small nail or a safety pin. I examined the kard again. Nothing strange except some line marks on blade like old grinding. Can grinding magnetise a blade?

Jens Nordlunde 13th February 2005 09:47 AM

Hi all,

Not all magnetite can become lodestone, it takes a special crystal structure, see what Dr. Peter Wasilewski, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, writes here this will answer some of the questions asked.

Fearn, I am nor a specialist on this, but I would think, that if you fold a blade many times, it will loose magnetism. I agree with you, I also think the magnetism on blades was made later – but why?
If we believe in what Dr. Peter Wasilewski writes, the lightening together with a good portion of superstition would lead them to believe that the Gods had made this metal.
I don’t know if lodestone was ever used for weapons, maybe it was too difficult to get the iron out of the stone, or maybe the percentage of iron was too small, I don’t know – but one thing it could do, and that was making other iron weapons magnetic. If they believed that the Gods gave them this stone, they would also believe in, that using this stone to magnetize a blade would give the user more power.

Nechesh, I know you did not advocating for magnetizing blades. I clean my blade and etch them, but I don’t magnetise them. The reason for this is that I don’t know if the blade was magnetised from the start, that is why I leave it be.

Rivkin, it seems as if Dr. Peter Wasilewski does not agree with you about the magnetic felt of the earth when it comes to lodestone, maybe the magnetic felt could influence ancient pottery, I don’t know, and I don’t know the reason for this.
I think you are right, that if any magnetism would be recovered in a blade after heating, it must cooled very slowly – just like the Indians did with wootz.
The defects in crystalline structures, what other metal the iron was mixed with, even in very small doses must have been a problem for the smiths, as this would have affected the way the iron should be treated. It seems to me, that wootz from one ore might have needed a slightly different treatment than wootz from another ore, according to how the iron was mixed. But I never saw anywhere that the wootz ores were magnetic, only the lodestone.

Robert, on the first link I gave, it somewhere say, that if you take a big nail which is not magnetised and hammer on one end for 50 times, the nail is magnetic – if you turn the nail and do the same on the other en of the nail, you will change the poles.

Jim, I think a crude compass was made much earlier than about 11th century AD, try to read this:
For many years magnetism was just a curious natural phenomenon and its only use was in navigation as what we now refer to as the mariner's compass and which was probably first developed by the Chinese some 4500 years ago. The earliest mariner's compass comprised a splinter of loadstone carefully floated on the surface tension of water.
You can find the whole text here if you are surprised when reading this, I understand you – I was surprised too.

Does anyone know if lodestone alone, or in combination with iron/wootz was used for making weapon?

Interesting questions you ask – but you must remember that I am not an expert – I try to learn as fast as you ask the questions.

yannis, interesting what you write to Jim, try to have a look on the link I gave him.
Yes, filing on a blade can make it magnetic, but you would have to file in the same direction the whole time - not back and forth, and I think it would be an advantage if the file was magnetic. I doubt however if it would make a kard blade as magnetic as the one you have, but I don't know it.


Rivkin 13th February 2005 04:26 PM

I believe that the case with Wasilevski is that his message have been probably perverted by "popular" explanation - probably what he meant is that extremely well magnetized samples have origins different from just being cooled in Earth magnetic field.

Concerning the knowledge that ancient iron (whether in pottery, iron deposits or special spherical boxes lying on the ocean's floor) is magnetized alongside the Earth magnetic field at the time of the iron sample's cooling period is a well known fact, avoiding "real" papers I would bring your attention to:

"Magnetite is magnetic because its molecular structure has allowed it to retain the alignment of particles caused by the Earth's magnetic field during its formation millions of years ago. When heated to high temperatures magnetite loses its natural magnetism. "
"Finally, a fourth bit of evidence also favors the idea of plate tectonics, although here the data aren’t as robust, their implications not as clear. This evidence is supplied by paleomagnetism—the study of ancient magnetism. Everyday experience tells us that iron is magnetic; in fact, any metal containing even small amounts of iron ore is usually magnetized. However, when iron is heated to temperatures ~1000 K, it loses its magnetic properties as individual atoms jostle freely (which is why magnetic thermometers often fall off the side of a roaring wood stove). Hot basalt—the dark, dense stuff of volcanoes—impregnated with traces of iron and upwelling from cracks in the oceanic ridges, is thus not magnetic. As the basalt cools, magnetism sets in as each iron atom effectively responds to Earth’s magnetic field like a compass needle. When the basalt solidifies to form hard rock shortly thereafter, it fixes the orientation of the embedded iron, since the iron atoms align themselves with the orientation of Earth’s field at the time of cooling. Accordingly, the ocean-floor matter has preserved within it a history of Earth’s magnetism."

Rivkin 13th February 2005 04:28 PM

And it would not make a bit of difference to make swords from lodestones - they would lose their magnetization, just as any other piece of iron, during the heating process.

capt.smash 13th February 2005 04:56 PM

HI i might be out of my depth here but im sure i heard that if you take 2 pieces of metal and stroke them together in the same direction continualy for a long ..long time they eventualy become slightly magnetic[a labour intensive version of strokeing a piece of metal in 1 direction with a magnet ]..i have noticed this in old drillbits that develop magnetism from spinning continualy in 1 direction against metal.[i asume this is why they become magnetic]?
Perhaps smiths who use metal files could inadvertantly cause magnetism in blades from useing a file in this method, gradualy magnetiseing the file and then whatever blade he works on [this is relying on him haveing a fileing technique where he files only on 1 direction and lifting the file on the return stroke ]i see this fileing technique in woodwork but not sure about metalwork.
Also mabe this could be the case for a stone sharpeing/grinding wheel[if it had a slight metal content]?Also this might explain why some blades have diffrent strength magnetism on diffrent parts of the blade that required more fileing.
This may sound silly but i thaught id mention it :p .

Jens Nordlunde 13th February 2005 05:25 PM

Rivkin, you explanation sounds most interesting, as well as you links, which I will read - and hope I will understand :o .

I must say, that I am overwhelmed by the inputs and the quality of the inputs, thank you very much.

capt.smash, no you are not out of your depth, on the contrary. You are dead on mark. Yes the fils must be used only in one direction, or it wont work. All the litte pieces of iron would be all confused otherwise :o . Thank you for answering.


Mare Rosu 13th February 2005 06:03 PM

JENS and all others good forum folks.
A most interesting thread indeed. I find little to fault with all the input but I have a question: How can one have two or more magnetic poles on the same blade? If you use a file, hammering or other means to magnetize a blade on purpose or otherwise, would you not have just one pole a North and a South pole on the blade. It is hard for me to figure out a process that would magnetize a blade with more than one North,& South pole without doing so on purpose by someone along the way. Leaving it in one place even for hundreds of years would still give you just a North and a South pole.
So my take is that a blade with more than one North and one South pole must have been done so on purpose.
Sorry :( Fearn got it right this time.

Jens Nordlunde 13th February 2005 06:15 PM

Gene, you got it absolutely right - the way you describe it, is the way it must have been done - on purpose :rolleyes: .
Now the big question is why, and I doubt veru much that anyone can answer this question, unless we find some hints in old books. Should I find them, be sure that I will let you know.


Rivkin 13th February 2005 06:43 PM

Most likely purpose have absolutely nothing to do with it. Anvil and hammer assuming they are magnetized (which is quite a logical assumption), they can create a very weird magnetic patterns in the forged blade. Not taking into account interactions in between of different parts of the blade, differential heat treatment, different chemical compositions.

Jim McDougall 13th February 2005 08:01 PM

This thread really is more and more fascinating!!
Yannis: thank you for the additional notes on Magnesia. I did see the reference to both regions when I read the entry in Brittanica, but left out that detail for simplicity in general reference. It seems to me the reference to the Cretan shepherd may likely be apocryphal. As always, I would defer to your outstanding knowledge of your country's history.

Jens: I have read the material on the link referring to Chinese mariners compasses being used some 4500 years ago, but cannot find anything to support the authors statement. Most of my research is based on Encyclopedia Brittanica data which notes (under 'compass') "...there is no genuine record of a Chinese maritime compass before 1297 AD as Kalproth admits".
*"Letire a' M.LeBaron Humboldt sur l'invention de la boussele" J. Kalproth, 1840, p.57 (bossola=It. term for compass, used by Muslims).
The Brittanica states further that the earliest allusion to the power of lodestone in Chinese literature occurs in a Chinese dictionary in 121 AD defining the stone as giving attraction to a needle. There is however myth suggesting a Chinese emperor created a chariot to indicate south (the Chinese compasses focused south, while European north) and the four cardinal directions, c.2634 BC. This period would fall loosely into that suggested in the material noting 4500 year old date, but it would seem that data remains largely subjective.
Naturally more recent research has discovered considerable new material concerning early Chinese maritime history as we have found in the book "1421", so more must be considered before any conclusions can be drawn.

Concerning the use of lodestone in smelting steel:
Robert Elgood in "Arms & Armour of Arabia in 18th & 19th c." on p.107 states. "...Birdwood (1880) wrote that 20 miles east of Nirmal and a few miles south of the Shisha hills occurs the hornblende slate or schist from which the magnetic iron used for ages in the manufacture of damascus steel, and by the Persians for their swordblades is obtained."
"The Industrial Arts of India" G.C.M.Birdwood, London, 1880, p.50

Elgood also notes on p.86 that HH Sultan Ghalib Al Qu'aiti described to him how magnetic quality found in some dagger blades raised the esteem of the blade. He notes that the very best janbiyya and nimsha blades were imported into the Hadhramaut from Hyderabad where they were made. These blades were referred to generally as 'Haiderabad'.

It would seem that magnetite was certainly present in certain wootz from India, although not necessarily in all of it. It is noted that wootz was also of course smelted in Kona Samundrum (southern India) where much of this product was exported particularly to Persia as the raw material in cakes.
It is not specified that any magnetic properties existed in this form of wootz.

I think the observations concerning creating magnetic polarity by filing consistantly as described is interesting, and while certainly non relevant to magnetism, I think it is interesting to note that the force of static electricity also creates the property of attraction in textiles. With the forces of nature, and as we well know in the aviation industry, static electricity can be deadly near volatile materials. On a lesser note, the same force can be maddening for women wearing certain clothing on a dry, windy day :).. the dreaded static cling!!

Now ask me as I sit in the rubble of notes and stacked books here in my den, how in the world did I get from ancient Chinese navigational history and the production of steel in India to static cling in womens skirts!!? :)
I need some rest !!!

Best regards,

Jens Nordlunde 13th February 2005 09:02 PM


Brilliant - that is what I had hoped to hear, very good - thank you very much.



Yannis 14th February 2005 08:16 AM


I am speechless and I bow to your superior knowledge!

I suppose that if Sultan Ghalib Al Qu'aiti had this idea about magnetic blades, it was more possible to be an old idea.

Also, as we see, only some blades have strong field. Most books don’t mention it, so this idea was not widespread. My feeling now is that of an old oral tradition, a kind of secret between a weapons elite. So this elite could the right time demonstrate the secret power and benefit of it.

Jens Nordlunde 14th February 2005 09:25 AM

Originally Posted by Rivkin
Most likely purpose have absolutely nothing to do with it. Anvil and hammer assuming they are magnetized (which is quite a logical assumption), they can create a very weird magnetic patterns in the forged blade. Not taking into account interactions in between of different parts of the blade, differential heat treatment, different chemical compositions.

Yes that could be a possibility, but (sorry, I know all the 'buts' are iritating) if it was the hammer and the anvil, why are so few blade magnetic?
Different heating and maybe different chemicals used, as we do know they used different chemicals, could also be part of the process, but again, if so, why do we have so relativly few magnetic blades?

Yannis, the way I see it, I think you are comming frightfully close - but I am guessing, I can't prove it :mad: . Your mail made me remember something said about enamel making, it was either in Jeypore Enamels, 1886, by Jacob and Hendley, or in Indian Art at Delhi 1903, by Watt. In one of the places the author writes that some of the secrets about enemal making has been told by a named Englishman, and the authors attitude was that he should not have told the secrets.
If the attitude of the early writers was 'let the artists keep their secrets', one can not wonder why we find so few hints about magnetism in the books.

We still have a puzzle or two, and one is Gene's blade. Why does the magnetism change four times? I have been told that it is no problem to do this, but there must be a reason for someone to use his time to make the blade magnetic like it is :confused:.


Mare Rosu 14th February 2005 12:44 PM

Jim, Outstanding information!
Quote from JIM "Elgood also notes on p.86 that HH Sultan Ghalib Al Qu'aiti described to him how magnetic quality found in some dagger blades raised the esteem of the blade. He notes that the very best janbiyya and nimsha blades were imported into the Hadhramaut from Hyderabad where they were made. These blades were referred to generally as 'Haiderabad'"

JIM As far as I am concerned you have answered to my satisfaction the question on why the blades were magnetic in the first place, it was a desired quality by the makers and users of the blades. :)

Yannis I share with you the "speechless" comment you made, with folks like Jim with his never ceasing quest for knowledge and the desire to share it is what this forum is all about. :D

Now we just have got to keep Jens from posting for a day or two all these hard questions and let us absorb the good information. :rolleyes:

Jens Nordlunde 14th February 2005 01:33 PM

Gene, I promise that I won’t ask any questions – at least not now.

Jim, I think I owe you an answer to the compass question. You are right, the one telling about the compass does not give any reference, so in order to compensate for this, I think we should shorten the time period with 1000 years, also I must admit, that a splinter swimming in a cup of water hardly can be called a compass, for this I will suggest, that we shorten the time period with 500 years – is this compensation agreeable with you:o?

Yes Gene, I know I promised, but this is only a 'small' question:p.


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