HomeWhen Was the Electric Motor Invented: Historical Overview

When Was the Electric Motor Invented: Historical Overview

When Was the Electric Motor Invented

The electric motor was invented in the early 19th century. The concept of electromagnetic rotation was first demonstrated by Michael Faraday in 1821, and the first practical electric motor was built by Thomas Davenport in 1834. Davenport’s motor was a simple, small-scale device, but it marked the beginning of the development of electric motors that would go on to power a wide range of machinery and appliances, revolutionizing various industries and daily life. Read about Best Electric Bikes 2020

The Early Sparks of Innovation

Electric Motor
Electric Motor

Humble Beginnings

The story of the electric motor begins in the early 19th century when inventors and scientists were experimenting with electricity. The first sparks of innovation emerged in the late 1820s.

Michael Faraday’s Contribution

In 1821, Michael Faraday, a British scientist, discovered electromagnetic rotation. This pivotal moment laid the foundation for the development of electric motors.

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The Rise of Practical Electric Motors

1828: Ányos Jedlik

Hungarian engineer Ányos Jedlik is credited with building one of the earliest known electric motors in 1828. His design used a simple ring made of wire to create a rotating magnetic field.

1832: William Sturgeon

Englishman William Sturgeon developed the first practical electromagnet in 1832. This innovation was crucial for the advancement of electric motor technology.

1834: Thomas Davenport

American blacksmith Thomas Davenport is often regarded as the inventor of the first DC electric motor. His design used a rotating armature and magnets.

The Battle of Patents

Electric Motor
Electric Motor

1873: Zenobe Gramme

Belgian engineer Zenobe Gramme’s dynamo, invented in 1873, was a significant breakthrough. It efficiently converted mechanical power into electrical power and vice versa, paving the way for practical applications.

1888: Nikola Tesla

The late 19th century saw a fierce battle of patents between inventors. Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American inventor, played a pivotal role with his AC (alternating current) motor, patented in 1888.

Modern Electric Motors

20th Century Advancements

The 20th century witnessed significant advancements in electric motor technology. These motors became smaller, more efficient, and applicable in a wide range of industries.

21st Century: Electric Vehicles

The electric motor’s importance skyrocketed with the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) in the 21st century. Tesla’s electric car revolutionized the automotive industry.


The invention of the electric motor has come a long way since Faraday’s groundbreaking discovery. From the earliest experiments and the contributions of inventors like Jedlik, Sturgeon, and Davenport to the patent battles and innovations of Gramme and Tesla, the electric motor has shaped modern society in profound ways. Today, it continues to drive technological advancements and sustainability efforts, making it a remarkable testament to human ingenuity.


  • Who is considered the father of the electric motor?

Michael Faraday is often considered the father of the electric motor due to his discovery of electromagnetic rotation in 1821.

  • What was the significance of Zenobe Gramme’s dynamo?

Zenobe Gramme’s dynamo, invented in 1873, was significant because it efficiently converted mechanical power into electrical power, making practical applications of electric motors possible.

  • What role did Nikola Tesla play in the development of electric motors?

Nikola Tesla played a crucial role by inventing the AC (alternating current) motor in 1888, which had a profound impact on the future of electric motor technology.

  • How have electric motors influenced modern transportation?

Electric motors have played a vital role in modern transportation, especially with the rise of electric vehicles (EVs). They offer a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional combustion engines.

  • What are some contemporary applications of electric motors?

Electric motors are widely used in contemporary applications, including industrial machinery, household appliances, robotics, and renewable energy systems.



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