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Countess of Westmorland's Lodestone

The lodestone, with iron pole-pieces, is surrounded by an ornamental coronet of gilt and painted metal. It is suspended from leather straps and may be raised or lowered by means of a winding key. It was given in 1756 by Maria, Countess of Westmorland, to the University, to be placed in this building, then the Ashmolean Museum. It could lift a weight of 160 lbs. A similar lodestone is in Coimbra and is said to have come from China as a gift from the Emperor to King João V of Portugal. It was assembled in Lisbon by William Dugood, a Fellow of the Royal Society, who was living in Portugal at that time.

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