More about the evolution of electric motors

Evolution of the Electric Motor

We recently blogged about early electrical motors from the 1830s . These were exciting innovations, but not what led to today’s versions. The DC motor actually evolved from the development of dynamometers (power generators). Early developments included:

  • 1832: William Ritchie and Hippolyte Pixii invented the commutator.
  • 1856: Werner von Siemens invented the Double-T-anchor.
  • 1872: Friedrich von Hefner-Alteneck invented the drum armature.

Siemens’ invention is the first to place winding into slots, and previous designs that did not contain this feature virtually disappeared. Siemens first created 50 of these machines for Bavarian railways to create electric pulses for telegraph systems. These did not supply continuous power and needed to be operated by hand.

From 1885-1889, numerous people contributed to the invention of the three-phase electric power system that serves as the foundation of today’s electric power transmission and more advanced electric motors. In 1887, Friedrich August Haselwander invented the three-phase synchronous motor that is used in modern robots and electric cars. In his day, though, he met resistance from the German postal authority; this governmental agency prohibited his three-phase synchronous generator because they worried about the machine interfering with telegraph lines. Because of this, Haselwander’s patent applications were not met with success.

Meanwhile, Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky build a three-phase cage induction motor that is the most highly used machine in the range of 1kW and above.

Electric Motor Testing and Repair in Tennessee and Georgia

Although the inventions discussed still serve as foundations of today’s electric motors, their usages have become more complex. And, in today’s fast-paced world (one that couldn’t even be imagined in the 1880s!), having downtime with your industrial motors, drives and pumps is serious business – because it can be very costly TO your business.


Fortunately, Tekwell has the skills and equipment needed to repair, test, and install machinery while ensuring peak efficiency and reliability. While a lot of companies claim to care about quality, Tekwell can stand behind their claims with the SKF Certified Rebuilder status and documented quality procedures.

We don’t take shortcuts. We get it done right.

Our field service technicians are highly qualified and have extensive knowledge of VFDs, PLCs, vibration testing, thermography and alignment. Many of our technical staff have been with the company for more than 20 years. Our service technicians are on call 24/7/365.

Contact us today for your electric motor repair / electric motor testing in the Knoxville, Tennessee area and the Cartersville, Georgia area. Or call the Knoxville office at 865.524.3681 or toll-free at 800.829.7454. Contact the Cartersville office at 770.386.4668 or toll-free at 888.984.4668.