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Davenport and the heyday of E&M

Mechanical Engineering Magazine has a rundown on Thomas Davenport and the invention of the electric motor – The blacksmith’s motor.

This was in the early nineteenth century when electricity and magnetism were being explored as usable phenomena.The Davenport story is one of an individual who would ride a horse near 30 miles to see an electromagnet in action and then take near any source of cash into playing with the phenomena.

Inventing a motor was one thing, getting the Patent Office to accept a patent in a new field was something else. That is where luminaries such as Joseph Henry, Stephen Van Rensselaer, and Amos Eaton come into the story as Davenport has to solicit the support of his invention from the prominent academia of the day to gain credibility with the Patent Office.

All in all, it wasn’t until near forty years after Davenport’s death that the motor began to move out of the bleeding edge category into something of commercial value. That was due to followers, such as Edison, who could solve the problem of finding power to drive the motor.

Good story, good read,

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