Joseph Henry's Oscillating Electromagnet Motor

ID: MAH-46797E or 46,797-E

Creator: Henry, Joseph 1797-1878

Form/Genre: Drawing

Date: c. 1830s

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 11-006

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Drawing of Joseph Henry's oscillating electromagnet motor. The motor was a simple device whose moving part was a straight electromagnet rocking on a horizontal axis. Henry, who would later become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, believed his machine was important as the first demonstration of continuous motion produced by magnetic attraction and repulsion.


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


From Silliman's American Journal of Science 20 (July 1831): 342.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accession 11-006

Contact information

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


c. 1830s

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Secretaries
  • Inventions
  • Science
  • Motors
  • Electromagnets
  • Scientific illustration
  • Magnets
  • Electromagnetism


United States


  • Drawing
  • Negative
  • Scientific illustration

ID Number

MAH-46797E or 46,797-E

Physical description

Number of Images: 1 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 5w x 7h ; Type of Image: Drawing ; Medium: Negative

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