In the year 1821 British scientist Michael Faraday explained the conversion of electrical energy into mechanical energy by placing a current carrying conductor in a magnetic field which resulted in the rotation of the conductor due to torque produced by the mutual action of electrical current and field.
Based on his principal the most primitive of machines a DC (Direct Current) machine was designed by another British scientist William Sturgeon in the year 1832. But his model was overly expensive and wasn’t used for any practical purpose. Later in the year 1886 the first electrical motor was invented by scientist Frank Julian Sprague. That was capable of rotating at a constant speed under a varied range of load, and thus derived motoring action.
We owe a lot to the humble electric motor, so here’s a timeline of the pioneering figures and their discoveries which helped develop it.
1820 Hans Christian Oersted notes a compass needle deflecting from magnetic north when current from a battery is switched on and off, confirming a direct relationship between electricity and magnetism.
1821 Michael Faraday demonstrates continuous electromagnetic rotation by suspending a magnetic wire in an electric field.
1822 Peter Barlow invents Barlow’s wheel, the first device powered by electromagnetism.
1824 Francois Arago demonstrates that a rotating copper disk produces rotation in a magnetic needle suspended above it.
1825 The electromagnet is invented by William Sturgeon.
1828 Anyos Jedlik invents the first commutated rotary electromechanical machine with electromagnets.
1833 Sturgeon builds the first commutated rotating electric machine, Joseph Saxton demonstrates a magneto-electric machine and Heinrich Lenz formulates the law of reversibility of generators and motors.
1837 Thomas Davenport obtains the first US electric motor patent while Robert Davidson develops a motor for powering a lathe.
1838 Solomon Stimpson builds a 12-pole electric motor with segmental commutator.
1842 Davidson develops an electric motor for a locomotive.
1886 Frank Julian Sprague develops a new constant-speed DC motor.