|Born||22 May 1783
|Died||4 December 1850
|Known for||electromagnet and electro motor|
|Influences||Charles Grafton Page|
|Influenced||Charles Grafton Page|
Sturgeon was born in Whittington, near Carnforth, Lancashire, and apprenticed to a shoemaker. He joined the army in 1802 and taught himself mathematics and physics. In 1824 he became lecturer in science at the East India Company's Military Seminary at Addiscombe, Surrey, and in the following year he exhibited his first electromagnet. He displayed its power by lifting nine pounds with a seven-ounce piece of iron wrapped with wire through which a current from a single battery was sent. In 1825, Sturgeon invented the modern compass, by using the concept of electromagnetism. In 1828 he put into practice Ampere's idea of a solenoid.
In 1832 he was appointed to the lecturing staff of the Adelaide Gallery of Practical Science in London, where he first demonstrated the DC electric motor incorporating a commutator.
Annals of Electricity
In 1840 he became superintendent of the Royal Victoria Gallery of Practical Science in Manchester. He formed a close social circle with John Davies, one of the Gallery's promoters, and Davies' student James Prescott Joule, a circle that eventually extended to include Edward William Binney and John Leigh. The Gallery closed in 1842, and he earned a living by lecturing and demonstrating. He died in Prestwich in 1850.
- Gee, W. (2004) "Sturgeon, William (1783–1850)", rev. Frank A. J. L. James, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 25 July 2007 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
- Kargon, R. H. (1977). Science in Victorian Manchester: Enterprise and Expertise. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-1969-5.
- Thompson, Sylvanus P. (1891): Lectures on the Electromagnet. W.J. Johnson Co., New York, p.17-19
- Gee (2004)
- Harrison, W. J. (2004) "Gassiot, John Peter (1797–1877)", rev. Iwan Rhys Morus, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 5 Aug 2007 (subscription required)
- Kargon (1977) pp38-40
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