Joseph Henry's Albany Magnet with its Battery and Apparatus for Measuring its Strength, by Unknown, 1831, Smithsonian Archives - History Div, Drawing of Joseph Henry's Albany magnet with its battery and apparatus for measuring its strength. Henry, who would later become the first Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, was the first to construct an electromagnet formed by tightly wrapping multiple coils of an insulated conducting wire around an iron bar..