There are many good uses for a metal detector. Perhaps a wedding ring fell off while you were planting the garden, or a kitchen tool is accidentally thrown in the compost bin. Maybe you just suspect that there might be some interesting finds on your property, or you want to locate property line markers. Whatever the reason, metal detecting can be a productive and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
Metal detecting was conceived in the late 1800s, with machines that could create a magnetic field and measure the effect that nearby metal had on it. But those early prototypes were clunky and large. Because they used batteries at a fast rate, were fairly inefficient and difficult to use.
Scientists and inventors continued to pioneer advancements in metal detecting. In 1925, the first patent for a metal detector was granted to Gerhard Fisher. His machine included a metal coil that resonated at a radio frequency, which was distorted by metal.
Another patent was granted in 1938, this time to Shirl Herr. Because his design was effective to a depth of 8 feet, it was widely used in exploration and archaeology.
Metal detectors gained an additional use during World War II, when they were used to detect mines. The machines still needed improvement, however, and it was really after the war that they were transformed into the modern metal detectors we know today. The machines became smaller and lighter, and battery power became less of an issue. They detect both ferrous and precious metals, so there are several modern uses.
Today, metal detectors are widely available for rent or purchase, and their cost and user-friendliness makes them useful for a variety of uses. They will likely continue to grow in functionality and popularity in the years to come.