Metal detectors have been around for a very long time. Towards the end of the 19th century, many scientists and engineers used their growing knowledge of electrical theory in an attempt to devise a machine which would identify metal. The use of such a device to find ore-bearing rocks would give a huge advantage to any miner who used it.
Heinrich Wilhelm Dove (October 6, 1803 – April 4, 1879) was a Prussian physicist and meteorologist. The German physicist invented the induction balance system, which was incorporated into metal detectors a century later. Early machines were crude and used a lot of battery power, and worked only to a very limited degree. The Scottish physicist, Alexander Graham Bell, attempted used such a device to attempt to locate a bullet lodged in the chest of American President James Garfield in 1881, though the attempt was unsuccessful because Garfield was lying on a metal bed and that threw off the metal detector.
Metal detectors are a rather exciting tool. They are among some of the most useful and common tools used today. Most people have seen at least one in their life, and it is hard to imagine never coming into contact with one. The metal detector is considered part of the detector radar family, because many detectors use the ground penetrating radar system to find deeply hidden metals.
The history of the metal detector is also an interesting subject, and is something to think about while standing in those long security checkpoint lines. Metal detectors have many uses in many different fields, some of which include: the military in mine fields, airports and other security checkpoints, geophysical prospectors, and beach-combers. Other members of the detector radar family include: car radar detector systems, weather radar systems, and cordless radar systems.