Joseph Henry Establishes Priority in Discovery of Self-Induction

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In order to establish himself as the first to discover self-induction, Joseph Henry presents a series of papers to the American Philosophical Society and publishes extracts of his work in the Journal of the Franklin Institute and Silliman's Journal of American Science. The first paper was given at the January 16th meeting. These articles include "Contributions to Electricity and Magnetism No. I.-- Description of a Galvanic Battery for Producing Electricity of Different Intensities" and "Contributions II-- On the Influence of a Spiral Conductor in Increasing the Intensity of Electricity from a Galvanic Arrangement of a Single Pair, Etc." In 1846, Joseph Henry would become Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.


  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • American Philosophical Society


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Contributions I appears at Contributions II appears at
  • Scientific Writings of Joseph Henry. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, Vol. 30. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1887, pp. 80-100.
  • Moyer, Albert. Joseph Henry: The Rise of an American Scientist. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1997, pp. 99-104.

Contact information

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


January 16-March 1835


  • Magnetic induction
  • Lectures and lecturing
  • Electrochemistry
  • Electromagnets
  • Electric power supplies to apparatus
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Electric batteries

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