Smithsonian Replica of Joseph Henry's Princeton Oscillating Electromagnet Motor

ID: MAH-29682 or 29,682

Creator: Unknown

Form/Genre: Object

Date: c. 1830s

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accesssion 11-006

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Smithsonian replica of Joseph Henry's Princeton University oscillating electromagnet motor, which he had constructed while teaching there c. 1830s. 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.


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


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


N.M.A.H. Cat. No. 181,324. See MAH-16188 for another image of this motor.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Accesssion 11-006

Contact information

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


c. 1830s

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions


  • Inventors
  • Scientific apparatus and instruments
  • Secretaries
  • Inventions
  • Science
  • Motors
  • Electromagnets
  • Historical models
  • Magnets
  • Electromagnetism


United States


  • Object
  • Glass plate negative

ID Number

MAH-29682 or 29,682

Physical description

Number of Images: 1 ; Color: Black and White ; Size: 8w x 10h ; Type of Image: Object ; Medium: Glass negative

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