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Sturgeon, William

army science electromagnet published

(1783–1850) British inventor: much improved electromagnet design.

After a few years as an apprentice shoemaker, Sturgeon joined the army and began to study science at night, until he became an expert on electrical instruments. After he left the army in 1820 he became a bootmaker and itinerant teacher of science for the army, and for some schools and societies, and he published popular accounts of science. In 1821 he much improved the electromagnet by using a bar of soft iron coated with shellac varnish to insulate it from the bare wires carrying the current ( later insulated the wires, so allowing many more turns and greater improvement in performance). For his work on electrical apparatus Sturgeon received a prize in 1825 from the Society of Arts; it consisted of a silver medal and 30 guineas. In 1836 he invented a moving-coil galvanometer and the first commutator for a workable electric motor. He published the first journals on electricity in English: his monthly Annals of Electricity ran from 1836–43.

Sturtevant, Alfred Henry [next]

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