Over the years, the electric motor has evolved extensively and continues to play a key (and growing) role in today’s society.
As the leading electric motor manufacturer and supplier for over 70 years, Parvalux is fascinated by the growth in popularity of the electric motor.
When was the electric motor invented?
1740s – Inventions began
Early incarnations of the electric motor first appeared in the 1740s through the work of Scottish Benedictine monk and scientist, Andrew Gordon. Other scientists such as Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry continued to develop early electric motors, experimenting with electromagnetic fields and discovering how to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy.
1834 – The first electric motor is made
History was made when Thomas Davenport of Vermont invented the first official battery-powered electric motor in 1834. This was the first electric motor that had enough power to perform a task and his invention was used to power a small-scale printing press.
1886 – The invention of the DC motor
William Sturgeon invented the first DC motor that could provide enough power to drive machinery but it wasn’t until 1886 that the first practical DC motor that could run at constant speed under variable weight, was produced. Frank Julian Sprague was its inventor and it was this motor that provided the catalyst for the wider adoption of electric motors in industrial applications.
Late 1880s – Motors are used for commercial use
Despite Davenport’s great discovery many years previously, electric motors were not widely used on a commercial level for another 50 years. Scientists and engineers continued to develop various types of electric motors with the objective of making them suitable for use in commercial settings. Before long, electric motors began being used throughout industry, in factories and in the home.
1888 – The AC induction motor is patented
In 1887, Nikola Tesla invented an AC induction motor that he successfully patented a year later. It wasn’t suitable for road vehicles but it was later adapted by Westinghouse engineers. In 1892 the first practical induction motor was designed, followed by a rotating bar winding rotor, making the unit suitable for use in automotive applications.
1891 – The development of three-phase motors
In this year, General Electric started developing three-phase induction motors. In order to utilise the bar-winding rotor design, GE and Westinghouse signed a cross-licensing agreement in 1896.
2000s – Use of motors today
In the 21st century, AC and DC electric motors are now widely used in industries across the globe and are an integral part of many applications. From powered wheelchairs and stairlifts to industrial automation, transport and solar panels, Parvalux motors have led the field in designing and manufacturing effective drive solutions for a wide range of challenging applications. The world would certainly be a very different place without the electric motor!