Link to Legacies Home Page Link to National Museum of American History About Legacies Tour the Exhibit Most Intriguing Objects Most Popular Objects Take the Collector Quiz A Treasure House A Shrine to the Famous A Palace of Progress A Mirror of America From Artifacts to America Exhibit Search Buy the Book Smithsonian Press--Legacies--2Shrine to the Famous--Electromagnet devised by Joseph Henry, 1831

Legacies: Collecting America's History at the Smithsonian, by Steven Lubar and Kathleen M. Kendrick
You are here: Shrine to the Famous > Scientists and Inventors

Electromagnet devised by Joseph Henry, 1831Electromagnet devised by Joseph Henry, 1831

Before becoming the first secretary of the Smithsonian in 1846, Henry was renowned in the scientific community for his studies of electricity and its practical applications. In 1831 he built this powerful electromagnet for a colleague at Yale University. Sixty years later, when the lightbulb, generator, telegraph, and telephone were transforming people's lives, Henry was recast as an electrical engineering pioneer. To honor him, Smithsonian curators assembled relics of his scientific career and created an exhibit of his discoveries in electricity. Some of Henry's apparatus had remained in the Smithsonian since his death in 1878; additional material was collected from Henry's daughters and from Yale, which donated this magnet in 1893.

Return to the Legacies Home Page

Privacy  |  Terms of Use