Thomas Davenport (inventor)

Thomas Davenport ( born July 9, 1802 in Williamstown (Vermont, USA); † July 6, 1851 in Salisbury ( Vermont) ) received the world's first patent for an electric motor.

Thomas Davenport was the son of a farmer and learned the trade of a blacksmith. Self-taught gifted and interested in new discoveries and developments of electricity and magnetism, he made ​​contact with Joseph Henry, watching the experiments. From an electromagnet, which he bought from Henry, he built an commutator.

His 1834 pending patent application for " Improvement in propelling machinery by magnetism and electromagnetism " was initially rejected. After re- submission with references of Henry and Professor Benjamin Franklin Bache, a grandson of Benjamin Franklin, Davenport was granted the patent on February 25, 1837. In 1835 he built with his self-developed electric motor, a model of an electrically powered rail vehicle on a track circle of four feet diameter.

The submitted along with the patent application model of the engine is now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. While Davenport's development was a technical breakthrough, but it initially did not lead to practical applications, except in his own workshop, as the steam engine at that time was more effective and more economical (see also: History of the electric drive of rail vehicles ).