Let metal detecting shape your history

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Metal detecting history is as interesting as it is varied. Its evolution from a practical life preserving device in war times to a addictive past time hobby has seen the device take many steps forward. The principles of the metal detector have remained fairly consistent over time. You can still buy a metal detector considered a collectors item and use it to find collectibles and coins and treasure. But, at the pinnacle of technology are digitally controlled metal detectors that will show you the depth, the size, the type of metal and much more.

As in nature, all is ebb and tide, all is wave motion, so it seems that in all branches of industry, alternating currents – electric wave motion – will have the sway.
— Nikola Tesla

It all started with the discovery of electricity. Electricity was not invented, it’s been here since the beginning of time. The early Greeks were experimenting with the wonder of it. Not until the 18th century did we start to understand and harness the potential use’s of this incredible energy source.

I’m very glad that the early pioneers of electricity did not give up on either of the types of electricity in use today. The two types: D/C (direct current) and A/C (alternating current). Nikola Tesla with George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison all had great ideas. Each of their ideas have their places in the efficient transfer of power to get a certain task done. It would be ridiculous to take a metal detector out in the field, to get a task accomplished, if it constantly had to have a cord tethered to it. That’s where Edison’s D/C power came in to play. Without his form of electricity the metal detector would not be what it is today.

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of all invention. I’ve found that to be true, especially with the early developers of technology. Making our lives easier was the main goal of most things we’ve come to enjoy and rely upon. The perpetuation of our species is what truly motivates all we do and create as a society. It might not seem like it at a glance, however with a little research and with a social understanding applied, self preservation is what the motivation is. Finding and retrieving treasure is a means to this end. Simply put, a person can live a safer, more pleasant life if they have the money to be able too.

In the latter part of the 19th century metal detectors were being developed to help the mining industries. When in 1881 an assassination attempt on the 20th President, James Garfield, resulted in a gun shot would to his chest, Alexander Graham Bell used an early form of a metal detector to try to locate the bullet, to remove it.

He was unsuccessful in his attempt. President Garfield died of an infection a little over a month later due to the unsanitary conditions of the medical treatment common of this period. This was the first attempt at metal detectors helping mankind to save itself.

The next leap forward in the development of practical metal detectors was in the 1920’s. More advances were being made in electronics and applied to the metal detector. Acquisition of treasure, exploration and discovery were all the rage then and the metal detector was finding it’s true calling.

World War II brought about the beginning of the machines we know today. Again, during the war the metal detector was used to help save lives by clearing deadly mine fields. The basic technology applied here would lead to all kinds of advancements in the medical field. It’s thanks to these early inventors that our diagnostic abilities are what they are today.

Our Medical establishments can scan our bodies for all kinds of disease and illness thanks to the early pioneers in the field of electromagnetic waves. The same technology has lead to incredible technology in the field of Astronomy also.

When NASA shows us images of the far distant stars and galaxies that make up our solar system and beyond, their using electromagnetic waves and spectrum analysis to “see” whats out there.

The food industry uses metal detectors a lot in the process of keeping our food safe. Most of the food we eat today is mechanically processed. That means there is all kinds of machines dedicated to the process of creating our food from the very start to the very end of production. It’s inevitable that somewhere along this long line of machines that somewhere in this process metal is going to get incorporated into the final product.

Without metal detectors that metal would make it to the consumer, with potentially harmful results. Again another use of the metal detector to help keep us safe. It’s really quite incredible and humbling to think it all started with some ancient Greeks watching the static electricity jump and snap from animal furs. So every time you grab that door knob and it zaps you, don’t get upset. Stop and think about all the good that has come from that simple cosmic reaction.

So all that leads to us here today. The machines on the market today are so advanced that it will take you some time to develop the skills to utilize all the features it has. Just to understand the extent of programming abilities will be impressive. You can set up custom programs for any ground condition you might possibly come up against, or think you might encounter.

The efficiency of the new metal detectors is fabulous. Lightweight and ergonomically designed, their a pleasure to use all day. The heads up display will show you everything about the machine and what it’s doing. Their light enough to use all day and the batteries will last a long time. You can even keep an eye on how much voltage is left. That way your day invested in treasure hunting can’t be ruined by dead batteries. With the target LCD display and description it’s possible to hunt treasure all day and not dig any bad targets. This makes these metal detectors so nice to use. It may cut down on your exercise program but you’ll make it up in the extra ground you’ll cover.

With all the technical advances that the world makes each minute of each day I would not doubt that the future holds great things for the treasure hunter. Just the advances we’ve made over the past decade leaves one wondering what’s next. The cellular industry continues to make incredible leaps and bounds in the mobile phone market. They already have an application for a hand held metal detector for your phone. With bluetooth technology involved it could connect with your metal detector and work together. Some top of the line detectors can already do this.  The practical uses for the treasure hunter would be attractive.

When my Father first started out metal detecting the Whites metal detector he owned picked up all metal. The big feature of the machine was the fact that you could adjust for ground balance which helped control the effect of mineralized soil, which in turn increased the depth capability. It didn’t consume that much battery power so it wasn’t that big of a unit.

Well, compared to todays metal detectors it was huge and weighted a ton. Back then it was considered easily portable. My father used this metal detector so much that the bottom of the search coil had worn out. He had to send it to Sweet Home, Oregon to have it custom made. Which they did by putting a new plastic bottom on it. That was in the late 70s. Even then White’s metal detectors in Sweet Home, Oregon were interested in acquiring his machine for their museum.

He was not interested in giving it up. I still have that machine. Actually my Nephew still has that machine. It’s definitely part of our family history. And that’s what history is all about. Looking back and seeing how far we have come. As I wrote in an earlier article, the times I spent with my Father treasure hunting were very special times for me.

It’s part of my history. It’s fun and rewarding to look back and remember all the great times we had. Not to mention all the great treasure we had found. We could talk for hours about our adventures and treasure. My Father had found so much silver that in the 70s when the Hunt brothers drove the silver market price up, he had a two car garage put on the house and a full bathroom put in the basement. He still had money left over. He really didn’t want to part with it then, however Mom talked him into it. If that silver would have been saved until today with the silver price where it is now. I can only speculate the money we would have.

So get out there with your children and friends, metal detect for some treasure. Make a little history for yourselves by finding a little history.

Good Digging!

  1. Taylor

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