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A brief history of electric motors

We owe much to the humble electric motor, so here’s a timeline of the pioneering figures and their discoveries which helped develop it.

1820 Hans Christian Oersted notes a compass needle deflecting from magnetic north when current from a battery is switched on and off, confirming a direct relationship between electricity and magnetism.            

1821 Michael Faraday demonstrates continuous electromagnetic rotation by suspending a magnetic wire in an electric field.                     

1822 Peter Barlow invents Barlow's wheel, the first device powered by electromagnetism.         

1824 Francois Arago demonstrates that a rotating copper disk produces rotation in a magnetic needle suspended above it.             

1825 The electromagnet is invented by William Sturgeon.

1828 Anyos Jedlik invents the first commutated rotary electromechanical machine with electromagnets.                     

1831 While Faraday discovers induction law, Joseph Henry creates a mechanical rocker, which he describes as a philosophical toy.                            

1833 Sturgeon builds the first commutated rotating electric machine, Joseph Saxton demonstrates a magneto-electric machine and Heinrich Lenz formulates the law of reversibility of generators and motors.              

1837 Thomas Davenport obtains the first US electric motor patent while Robert Davidson develops a motor for powering a lathe.

1838 Solomon Stimpson builds a 12-pole electric motor with segmental commutator.                     

1842 Davidson develops an electric motor for a locomotive.      

1886 Frank Julian Sprague develops a new constant-speed DC motor.

1886-89 Nikola Tesla describes three patented two-phase four-pole motors.

1889-90 Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky invents the first cage and wound rotor versions of the three-phase induction motor that we see used today.

1935 Hermann Kemper builds a working linear induction motor.

Gibbons supply ABB motors along with our own high-performance range. Give us a call on 01621 868138 or email for technical advice or a quote.

Electric Motors

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