The history of DC motors extends way back into the 19th century. From initial testing and development to widespread use across global industries, DC gear motors have evolved significantly into the present day.

Being a trusted electric motor manufacturer for over 70 years means we have seen how the DC motor has changed and adapted to new technologies over time. We are always intrigued about how it will continue to evolve and succeed in new industries in the future. Find out more about DC motors and their fascinating history:

What is a DC motor?

A DC motor is powered by direct current, which converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. This mechanical energy causes rotational movement within the motor, helping to power a vast majority of industry applications. 

The invention of the DC motor

The invention of the DC motor came about in the early 1800s, with initial developments made in 1832 by British scientist William Sturgeon. Sturgeon created the very first commutator DC motor, with the ability to turn machinery.

However, Sturgeon’s idea was developed and built upon by Thomas Davenport, an American inventor. Davenport is more widely known to have officially invented a working DC motor, which he went onto patent a few years later in 1837. Initially, Davenport struggled with issues surrounding the expensive costs of battery power whilst running the motors, which made the very first DC motor fairly incapable of withstanding the test of time. Learn more about how the electric motor was invented.

How DC motors were used in the 19th century

After Davenport’s initial invention of the DC motor came to light, many other inventors and engineers became inspired to develop their own concepts. In 1834, Russian engineer Moritz von Jacobi went on to invent the very first rotating DC motor. His invention became famous for being incredibly powerful, which later set a world record. Incredibly, he broke his own world record in 1838 with a new and improved version of his DC motor invention. This motor motivated others to produce DC motors of the same powerful standard, with the ability to drive a boat with a capacity of 14 people across a river.

The year of 1864 saw an amazing breakthrough in the history of DC motors, with the very first recognition of the ring armature by Antonio Pacinotti. This has become a vital piece of equipment within the DC motor’s design, which carries current through coils grouped together.

With all of these developments in mind, the 1800’s had still not seen a more practical DC motor with greater speed control. This came in 1886, where Frank Julian Sprague invented a motor that could maintain constant speed under variable loads. His invention lead to wider commercial use of the DC motor, such as the first electric elevator and powered trolley system. The practicality of this DC motor caused high demand to surge in both commercial and more residential settings, such as in factories and within the home.

How DC motors are used today

Fast forward to the present day, DC motors have completely transformed the modern world in industries such as healthcare, leisure and work. Industrial settings have increased their efficiency and output due to machinery being fully equipped with a reliable power source. In agricultural settings, DC motors take pressure off of humans and animals in order to perform tasks quickly and easily, such as pumping water or distributing grain. We also couldn’t live without DC gear motors in our homes. From dishwashers to fridge freezers, DC motors power essential items that bring convenience and speed to our busy, everyday lives.

At Parvalux, we are proud to offer PMDC and BLDC motor products to a diverse range of demanding industry applications all over the world, including large-scale wiper systems, golf buggies and powered wheelchairs.

For more information about DC motors at Parvalux or to enquire about a bespoke motor solution, contact our friendly team. Call us on +44 (0) 1202 512575 or email sales@parvalux.com.