Thomas Davenport (inventor)

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Thomas Davenport
Thomas Davenport.jpg
Thomas Davenport c. 1850
Born (1802-07-09)July 9, 1802
Williamstown, Vermont
Died July 6, 1851(1851-07-06) (aged 48)
Salisbury, Vermont [1]
Citizenship American
Occupation blacksmith
Known for inventing the electric motor
Spouse(s) Emily Davenport

Thomas Davenport (9 July 1802 – 6 July 1851) was a Vermont blacksmith who constructed the first American DC electric motor in 1834.[1]

Davenport was born in Williamstown, Vermont. He lived in Forest Dale, a village near the town of Brandon.

As early as 1834, he developed a battery-powered electric motor. He used it to operate a small model car on a short section of track, paving the way for the later electrification of streetcars.[2]

Davenport's 1833 visit to the Penfield and Taft iron works at Crown Point, New York, where an electromagnet was operating, based on the design of Joseph Henry, was an impetus for his electromagnetic undertakings. Davenport bought an electromagnet from the Crown Point factory and took it apart to see how it worked. Then he forged a better iron core and redid the wiring, using silk from his wife's wedding gown.[3]

With his wife Emily, and a colleague Orange Smalley, Davenport received the first American patent on an electric machine in 1837, U. S. Patent No. 132.[4]

In 1849, Charles Grafton Page, the Washington scientist and inventor, commenced a project to build an electromagnetically powered locomotive, with substantial funds appropriated by the US Senate. Davenport challenged the expenditure of public funds, arguing for the motors he had already invented. In 1851, Page's full sized electromagnetically operated locomotive was put to a calamity-laden test on the rail line between Washington and Baltimore.[5]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Thomas Davenport[dead link]
  2. ^ Electrifying America by David E. Nye, p.86, from Google Books. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
  3. ^ Schiffer, 2008, p. 65-66.
  4. ^ "IMPROVEMENT IN PROPELLING MACHINERY BY MAGNETISM AND ELECTRO-MAGNETISM". Google. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  5. ^ Post,(1976), p. 89-90.
  6. ^ [dead link]Davenport's patent for the electric motor, issued in early 1837, Today in Technology History February 25