The History of Electric Motors: Dating Back to the 1830’s

The History of Electric Motors

While we know that electricity is a natural phenomenon and that the history of electricity shows us ancient civilizations were aware of it, for more than 400 years humans have been researching, documenting, and innovating based on its capabilities. Part of that history includes famous inventors such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Edison, and some of it involves the invention of things such as the first consumer electronics. But another often overlooked invention that has helped power our society for nearly 200 years is the electric motor. The problem is that too few people are aware of the history of electric motors. In particular, the role they have played in shaping the machines. Especially considering the machines we have used to progress to where we are today. So, let’s answer that question: when, and how, were electric motors first invented?

When were electric motors first invented?

While electricity did not become a household service until the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, and consumer electronics did not enter the economy until the radio was invented shortly thereafter, many people would be surprised to learn that the electric motor actually came before both of these steps. In fact, the first US patent filed for an electric motor came from Thomas Davenport, an inventor from Vermont, in 1834. Looking for a new way to efficiently operate a small printing press, Davenport utilized batteries to power his electric motor.

Though it took nearly the rest of the century to accomplish, by the late 1800s inventors and engineers were putting both the DC motor and the AC induction motor into commercial use. Today, electric motors are everywhere, even venturing into newer industries such as automotive and, soon, the airline industry.

For more information on the history of electric motors and to find other interesting information about the electrical industry, visit our blog.

Wrapping It Up

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