The prototype “Ferrum Rex” wand was made as a prize in a competition I ran in 2017 at a reunion of retired metallurgists (aka the “Geordie Blacksmiths”) from Newcastle on Tyne, England. The wand was intended to symbolise the progress of humankind from the stone age, through the bronze age, to the iron age. The iron and nickel of the stainless steel shaft mirror to some extent the composition of the Earth’s core. Without the magnetic protection for our planet generated by the core’s geodynamo, we would surely not be here.
The rocket wand takes the symbolism a stage further to the age of space exploration. Both wands have material from the Campo del Cielo iron meteorite embedded in the bronze tip as the main magic element. The Ancients associated magical properties with what we now know as meteoritic iron. The Greeks called this substance “sideros” (σίδηρος) as they must have reasoned these lumps of magical material came from the stars. How right they were! The Psyche mission will surely give us greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in the formation of planetary cores.
The wood for the wand bases has an unusual connection with the world of nickel/iron alloys. The mahogany plank that the bases were fashioned from was once part of a bench top in the Metal Physics Laboratory at Telcon Metals Ltd, Sussex, manufacturers of nickel/iron alloys for soft-magnetic and controlled-expansion applications. I worked there for many years but, sadly, the firm no longer exists. Perhaps this association will give an extra dimension to the magical properties of these wands.
Credit: SESE, ASU