Early electric motor, 1834

Early electric motor, 1834

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Early electric motor. Historical artwork of one of the first full-scale, practical electric motors, one of several designed and built from 1834 by the German physicist and engineer Moritz von Jacobi (1801-1874). The principle of the electric motor had been demonstrated by Michael Faraday in 1821. Jacobi moved to St Petersburg, Russia, in 1837. In 1839, financed by Tsar Nicholas I, he built a boat that used electric batteries to power an electric motor to drive paddlewheels. A similar arrangement is seen here, with wires (bottom) connecting to the batteries, and eight solenoids (wires coiled around cylinders) acting as electromagnets to turn wheels on the central shaft. Artwork from A Travers l'Electricite (G. Dary, Paris, 1900).

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