H-K Toy Electric Motor

Description (Brief)
This toy electric motor was made by the H-K Electric Toy Company of Indianapolis, Indiana around 1906. The patents on this object refer to an electric toy that recreates mechanical motion. A dry cell battery could fit in the center of the toy, energizing the electromagnets on the side, contracting its three lever-arms. When this contraction happens, the shaft rotates, and the protruding part of the shaft comes into contact with the metal prong causing the circuit that powered the electromagnet to break. This releases the lever-arms, which rotates the shaft as they rise, re-engaging the electromagnets and continuing the cycle. The weighted flywheel and staggered strength of the levers helped ensure that the drive shaft continued to rotate. The drive shaft could be connected to a variety of factory toys and provide them with a sense of realistic motion like their full size counterparts.
Currently not on view
Object Name
toy, electric motor
engine, electric, toy
toy, electric engine
date made
Physical Description
steel (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 6 in x 5 3/8 in x 7 5/8 in; 15.24 cm x 13.6525 cm x 19.3675 cm
overall - from catalog card: 6 in x 7 in x 5 in; 15.24 cm x 17.78 cm x 12.7 cm
flywheel - from catalog card: 3 1/2 in; x 8.89 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Engineering Steam Toys and Models
Engineering, Building, and Architecture
Family & Social Life
See more items in
Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Engineering Steam Toys and Models
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Bequest of the Estate of Greville I. Bathe
maker/donor referenced
Maass, Eleanor A.. Greville Bathe's "Theatre of Machines": The Evolution of a Scholar and His Collection
Additional Media

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