A Greek shepherd named Magnes discovered magnets 4,000 years ago in Magnesia, Greece. The name magnetite has been derived from Magnesia or Magnes. Magnets are named after Magnetite.
Magnets attract magnetic materials. Natural rocks that have the property of attracting iron are called naturals magnets. Magnes discovered a natural magnetic rock, called the lodestone. In the form of a bar, it was used to find directions on the earth, and so the name, ‘lodestone,’ which means the stone that leads. Lodestone has a compound of iron called magnetite. These natural magnets have the magnetic property of attracting materials like iron.
"Archimedes", the ancient Greek scientist, is believed to have used lodestone to pull nails from enemy ships. Taking the nails out made the ships sink.
Materials that are attracted by a magnet are called magnetic materials. Objects made of materials such as iron, cobalt and nickel are magnetic objects. Examples of magnetic materials include iron nail, key, metal spade, needle and metal door handle.
Materials that are not attracted by magnets are called non-magnetic materials. Modern coins are made of uniform mixtures of different metals so they become non- magnetic. Examples of non-magnetic materials include rubber, coins, feather and leather.