Article ID: CBB001320910

Ampère's Motor: Its History and the Controversies Surrounding its Working Mechanism (2012)


In 1822 Ampère created a new kind of motor when he succeeded in spinning a cylindrical magnet around its axis by connecting it to a battery generating a steady current. Nowadays, it is easy to present such a motor in the classroom utilizing a neodymiummagnet, a D battery, a steel nail, and a short piece of copper wire. Although it is very simple to observe the rotation, the explanation of this effect is still under dispute. This work presents the history of this motor including the controversy between Ampère and Faraday, as well as the modern explanation based on the field concept. We emphasize the positive outcomes to be gained in the classroom by presenting this device to students.

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Authors & Contributors
Mertens, Joost
Mills, Allan A.
Harwood, Jonathan H.
Currier, Dean P.
Unwin, Robert W.
Unwin, Patrick R.
British Journal for the History of Science
Substantia: An International Journal of the History of Chemistry
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Archives Internationales d'Histoire des Sciences
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Perspectives on Science
Rowman & Littlefield
Pavia University Press
Green Lion Press
Electricity; magnetism
Volta, Alessandro
Leclanché, Georges Lionel
Faraday, Michael
Davy, Humphry
Du Bois-Reymond, Emil Heinrich
Giorgi, Giovanni
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
21st century
20th century, early
18th century
20th century, late
United States
Bavaria (Germany)
Royal Institution of Great Britain
British Association for the Advancement of Science
Freie Universität Berlin
Bell Telephone Laboratories

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