Before Tesla, Volt, Prius
February 25, 1837:
First American Patent on an Electric Motor
With his wife Emily, and a colleague Orange Smalley, Thomas Davenport received the first American patent on an electric motor in 1837, U. S. Patent No. 132.
Thomas Davenport (9 July 1802 – 6 July 1851) was a Vermont blacksmith who constructed the first American DC electric motor in 1834.
As early as 1834, he developed a battery-powered electric motor. He used it to operate a small model car on a short section of track, paving the way for the later electrification of streetcars.
Davenport’s 1833 visit to the Penfield and Taft iron works at Crown Point, New York, where an electromagnet was operating, based on the design of Joseph Henry, was an impetus for his electromagnetic undertakings. Davenport bought an electromagnet from the Crown Point factory and took it apart to see how it worked. Then he forged a better iron core and redid the wiring, using silk from his wife’s wedding gown.
First Electric Motor. In 1827, Ányos Jedlik started experimenting with electromagnetic rotating devices which he called lightning-magnetic self-rotor and in 1828 demonstrated the first device which contained the three main components of practical direct current motors: the stator, rotor and commutator. In the prototype both the stationary and the revolving parts were electromagnetic. The first electromotor, built in 1828, and Jedlik’s operating instructions are kept at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. The motor still works perfectly today.
How Electric Motors Work