Davenport electric motor, US patent #132

Davenport electric motor, US patent #132

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
Model to accompany US patent number 132, "Electric Motor, issued to Thomas Davenport, 25 February 1837. This is the first US patent issued for an electric motor. No extant markings. The patent claims: "Applying magnetic and electromagnetic power as a moving principle for machinery in the manner above described, or in any other substantially the same in principle". Wooden base, 9 by 14 in., supported on four curved legs, carrying a circular frame, in which there are four rough electro-magnets, painted red, made to revolve within a ring of steel magnets. The steel magnets in the ring are crescent-shaped can be lifted out of the frame. Reference: W. James King, Development of Electrical Technology in the 19th Century (Smithsonian Institution, 1962), 264.
This model was made by Vermont blacksmith Thomas Davenport (1802-1851) as a replacement for his original patent model. The original was destroyed in the 1836 fire at the US Patent Office. Davenport may have incorporated improvements in this model that are not reflected in the patent drawings.
Object Name
Electric Motor
electric motor
Object Type
Patent Model
Other Terms
Electric Motor; Electromagnetic Devices
date made
ca 1837
associated person
Davenport, Thomas
overall: 15 in x 10 in x 15 in; 38.1 cm x 25.4 cm x 38.1 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
patent number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Electricity
Lighting a Revolution
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object