Magnets are pieces of iron ore, magnetite, capable of attracting iron objects.
Some properties of magnets
The first fact observed was that they are capable of attracting iron objects. The second was that it was possible to transfer to iron bodies the same property as magnets.
It was found that this ability to attract iron objects seems to be concentrated in two points. This fact is verified by bringing a bar-shaped magnet close to the iron filings, as it is perceived to be concentrated at the ends of the magnet.
We call the extreme regions of a magnet poles, because of another observed fact: when we suspend a bar-shaped magnet by its center, as shown in the figure below, so that it is free to move, we perceive that it is oriented approximately in the north-south direction.
Thanks to this property, they were able to create the compass , an instrument widely used to this day, built basically by a small diamond-shaped magnet, capable of rotating around an axis.
Another perceived property was that there are forces between the magnets. Thus, it was found that poles with the same name repel each other and poles with different names attract each other.
When breaking a magnet, another property was observed: the inseparability of the poles. Breaking a magnet into more pieces will always find new magnets with two poles.