Joseph Henry Demonstrates His Most Powerful Electromagnet

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Joseph Henry unveils a powerful new electromagnet during the College of New Jersey's (now Princeton University) commencement exercises, and demonstrates its ability to support up to 3,600 pounds. He would later note that "with a proper sized battery" it was capable of supporting over 4,000 pounds. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • College of New Jersey (Princeton, N.J.)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Reingold, Nathan, ed. The Papers of Joseph Henry, The Princeton Years, November 1832 - December 1835, vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1975, pp. 122-23, 130-32.
  • Moyer, Albert. Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, p. 143

Contact information

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


September 1833


  • Electric apparatus and appliances
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Electromagnets
  • Experiments
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Electromagnet


Princeton (N.J.)

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