The electric motor, the telegraph, and Joseph Henry's theory of technological progress

Close
Usage Conditions Apply
The Smithsonian Institution Archives welcomes personal and educational use of its collections unless otherwise noted. For commercial uses, please contact photos@si.edu.
Print

Narrow Your Results

Reset

Filter Your Results

Smithsonian Secretaries Information

Close Browse records and papers of the Smithsonian Secretaries, from 1846 until today. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by individuals who have held that office.

Expeditions Information

Close Browse records and papers documenting scientific and collecting expeditions either affiliated with the Smithsonian, or with which Smithsonian researchers participated. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by geographic regions predominantly represented in expedition records.

Professional Societies Information

Close Browse records of professional societies closely associated with the Smithsonian, that focus on areas of scientific research and museum studies. Pre-set filters help narrow searches by major topics and disciplines.
 

Summary

Joseph Henry, America's foremost electrical physicist of the early 19th century and first Secretary of the Smithsonian, was central to the development of science and technology surrounding the discovery of electric current. The electromagnetic telegraph and the battery-powered motor were two leading technological efforts of the period, and Henry closely followed the development of both devices. While he fully supported work on the telegraph, he was opposed to the battery-powered motor on the grounds of impracticality. He stated these views forcefully to the numerous inventors who sought his expert advice on electricity. This paper explores the reasons for Henry's contrasting opinions of the telegraph and the motor. Underlying these opinions were Henry's assumptions about the progress of technology and its proper relations to scientific knowledge and the current needs of society.

Subject

Henry, Joseph 1797-1878

Category

Smithsonian History Bibliography

Notes

Summary adapted from abstract at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

Contained within

Proceedings of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 64 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

1976

Topic

  • History of Science and Technology
  • Telegraph
  • Electricity
  • History of Technology
  • Secretaries
  • SI, Early History
  • Electrochemistry
  • Motors
  • Electric power supplies to apparatus
  • Electric machinery
  • Electric motors
  • Biography
  • Electric batteries

Physical description

Number of pages : 6; Page numbers : 1273-1278

Full Record

View Full Record