Gramme Dynamo – 1871

Zenobe Theophile Gramme (1826 – 1901) invented the first industrial generator, or dynamo. A deceptively simple-looking machine, it consisted of 30 coils wrapped around a spinning ring of iron.

Gramme DynamoGramme Dynamo | Larger sizeAlthough not the first electric motor, it was the first to be have applications in manufacturing and farming.

A largely self-taught inventor, Gramme also had a keen sense of business. Together with French engineer Hippolyte Fontaine, he opened a factory that produced the Gramme dynamo as well as the Gramme ring and armature.

Before Gramme's invention, electric motors were little more than toys and lab oddities. His generator ushered in the commercial use of the electric motor and stimulated advances in electricity. Because of his creative use of circular armature and numerous overlapped coils, his design remains the basis of many of today's direct-current electric motors.

Last modified on 10 December 2014
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