The First Electric Motor

In May 1834 Moritz Jacobi built the world’s first real electric motor in Königsberg. There had been other rotating electromagnetic devices before but none of them developed a significant mechanical output power. The first rotating device was already created in 1822 by Peter Barlow (Barlow’s wheel).

Jacobi’s electric motor developed as much as 15 watt. The film presents an authentic replica of his construction in action.

This first electric motor set a world record in performance that stood for four years and was improved in September 1838 only by Jacobi himself. It was not before 1839/40 when other developers worldwide managed to build motors of similar and later also of higher performance.

More information about this and other early electric motors is available on the website of the Institute of Electrical Engineering (ETI) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT):

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