Reed Relay Basics
The reed switch explained:
The reed switch has two shaped metal blades made of a ferromagnetic material (roughly 50:50 nickel iron) and glass envelope that serves to both hold the metal blades in place and to provide a hermetic seal that prevents any contaminants entering the critical contact areas inside the glass envelope. Most (but not all) reed switches have open contacts in their normal state.
If a magnetic field is applied along the axis of the reed blades the field is intensified in the reed blades because of their ferromagnetic nature, the open contacts of the reed blades are attracted to each other and the blades deflect to close the gap. With enough applied field the blades make contact and electrical contact is made.