Museo Galileo
Virtual Museum
Magnetic ducks
    • Setting:
      Room XI
    • Maker:
    • Date:
      second half 18th cent.
    • Materials:
      ceramic, iron, lodestone
    • Dimensions:
      length 200 mm, max. width 120 mm
    • Inventory:
    • Magnetic ducks (Inv. 1213)

Two small ceramic ducks each with a magnet in its beak, one marked North and the other South. These were probably decorative ducks later modified by adding floats under their wings. They were floated in a basin of water to demonstrate the magnetic phenomena of attraction and repulsion. Instruments of this kind, arousing curiosity and wonder, are often described in eighteenth-century treatises. Provenance: Lorraine collections.