Experimental Electromagnet

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Description (Brief)
Joseph Henry (1797-1878) made an international scientific reputation with his research into electromagnetism in the 1820s and 1830s. That reputation later played a role in his being named the first Secretary of the new Smithsonian Institution. This electromagnet is purported to be Henry’s first electromagnet. According to the donor’s father, inventor Amos Dolbear, “This electromagnet was given to Mr. Thomas Hall [of Boston], by Joseph Henry about 1870. Prof. Henry told Mr. Hall it was the first electromagnet he ever made. [The magnet , not its mounting.] Mr. Hall gave it to me in Oct. 1897. He understood that it was with this magnet the famous experiments in Albany in 1829 were made when Henry telegraphed thru the wire stretched round his lecture room."
date made
associated person
Henry, Joseph
Henry, Joseph
place made
United States: New York, Albany
Physical Description
mahogany (overall material)
iron (overall material)
brass (overall material)
overall: 2 1/4 in x 3 1/8 in; 5.715 cm x 7.9375 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
from Benjamin L. Dolbear
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Work and Industry: Electricity
Science & Mathematics
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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