Thomas Davenport (inventor)
Thomas Davenport c. 1850
July 9, 1802|
|Died||July 6, 1851
Salisbury, Vermont 
|Known for||inventing the electric motor|
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.
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.
- Post, R. C. (1976). Physics, Patents, and Politics: A Biography of Charles Grafton Page. New York: Science History Publications.
- Michael Brian Schiffer, 2008. Power Struggles: Scientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity Before Edison, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.
- Frank Wicks. "The Blacksmith's Motor. Electricity, magnetism, and motion: A self-taught Vermonter pointed the direction for lighting the world." Mechanical Engineering, July 1999.
- Patent 132. (direct link)
- Smalley and Davenport's shop. http://www.uvm.edu/~histpres/SD/hist.html
- The invention of the electric motor 1800-1854: Thomas Davenport
- Thomas Davenport Archived October 16, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Electrifying America by David E. Nye, p.86, from Google Books. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
- Schiffer, 2008, p. 65-66.
- "IMPROVEMENT IN PROPELLING MACHINERY BY MAGNETISM AND ELECTRO-MAGNETISM". Google. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- Post,(1976), p. 89-90.
- [dead link]Davenport's patent for the electric motor, issued in early 1837, Today in Technology History February 25