You may know Michael Faraday from his invention the Faraday Cage. As it turns out, he also made a discovery central to the origins of the electric motor. Here’s more from the museum:
He had shown what no-one else had considered, that the motion produced by the interaction between an electric current and a magnetic field was circular rather than linear…. He continued working on the problem the following day, hoping to produce an apparatus that would illustrate what he called ‘electromagnetic rotations’…. The result was a device that rotated continuously without human intervention, thus successfully demonstrating the transformation of electrical energy into mechanical energy; in other words, the principle behind the electric motor.
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