Joseph Henry Discovers Electromagnetic Induction

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

Narrow Your Results


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.


Joseph Henry uses his electromagnet and a battery to induce an electric current measurable by a galvanometer, and to create sparks. He publishes his results in Silliman's American Journal of Science in July, 1832, shortly after British scientist Michael Faraday published similar results in another scientific journal. In 1846, Henry would become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • Faraday, Michael 1791-1867


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Henry's article on this discovery can be found at
  • Moyer, Albert. Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, pp. 86-93.
  • Henry, Joseph. "On the Production of Currents and Sparks of Electricity from Magnetism." Silliman's Journal 22, 1832, pp. 403-08.

Contact information

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


June 1832


  • Electric apparatus and appliances
  • Magnetic induction
  • Inventors
  • Inventions
  • Science
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electromagnets
  • Science publishing
  • Electric power supplies to apparatus
  • Experiments
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Science--Experiments
  • Electromagnet
  • Electric batteries


United States

Full Record

View Full Record