Since Gauss laid the basis for the knowledge of the magnetism of the earth, the globe has been covered with stations where one follows the surprising correspondence in the capricious movements of the magnetic needle, and where, in connection with the international North-pole expedition, an important step is now taken toward explanation of magnetic storms by simultaneous observations.
Swedish orienteering champion and co-founder of compass manufacturer Silva, Gunnar Tillander revolutionised compass designs in 1928 by placing the magnetic needle in a liquid-filled capsule to dampen its natural desire to swing wildly until it homes in on a bearing.
The Chinese apparently knew and used compasses 2,000 years ago, and 12th century Mediterranean navigators used primitive compasses consisting of a piece of magnetite or a magnetic needle on a small piece of wood floating on water.
The geomagnetic field is dominated by a dipolar geometry with either a normal (north pole of the magnetic needle pointing toward the north geographic pole) or a reversed (north pole pointing toward the south geographic pole) polarity.
Yusef noticed an unusual movement of the magnetic needle of his telegraph instrument and while other telegraph operators during the late 1800s and early 1900s noticed the phenomenon, he proposed an earthquake early warning system.