Thomas Davenport biography

Thomas Davenport

Inventor

1802 – 1851

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Who was Thomas Davenport?

Thomas Davenport was a Vermont blacksmith who constructed the first American DC electric motor in 1834.

Davenport was born in Williamstown, Vermont. He lived in Forest Dale, a village near the town of Brandon.

As early as 1834, he developed a battery-powered electric motor. He used it to operate a small model car on a short section of track, paving the way for the later electrification of streetcars.

Davenport's 1833 visit to the Penfield and Taft iron works at Crown Point, New York, where an electromagnet was operating, based on the design of Joseph Henry, was an impetus for his electromagnetic undertakings. Davenport bought an electromagnet from the Crown Point factory and took it apart to see how it worked. Then he forged a better iron core and redid the wiring, using silk from his wife's wedding gown.

With his wife Emily, and a colleague Orange Smalley, Davenport received the first American patent on an electric machine in 1837, U. S. Patent No. 132.

In 1849, Charles Grafton Page, the Washington scientist and inventor, commenced a project to build an electromagnetically powered locomotive, with substantial funds appropriated by the US Senate.

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"Thomas Davenport." Biographies.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 28 Sep. 2020. <https://www.biographies.net/people/en/thomas_davenport>.


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Born
Jul 9, 1802
Williamstown
Spouses
Nationality
  • United States of America
Profession
Lived in
  • Vermont
Died
Jul 6, 1851
Salisbury

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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