Egger electric motor

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 © Technisches Museum Wien, Photo: Peter Sedlaczek
When men of God build machines, Part 2: Martin Egger failed with his electric motor, which was never built.

The Tyrolean Father Martin Egger developed a motor in 1860 that converted electrical energy into rotary motion. In his design, Egger started from the principle of the steam engine. There were solenoids and armatures instead of a boiler, cylinder and piston. The other mechanical part corresponded to that of the steam engine. A galvanic cell provided the driving energy.

This Father was outstandingly successful in uniting the disadvantages of the steam engine and the galvanic cell. The complex mechanical part led to high friction losses and only low speeds were possible. Galvanic cells are expensive and have limited power. The engine was never built and remains a model for training purposes.

However, both the engine and the builder have earned proper recognition, because technology can be like that: someone has a dazzling idea, is able to implement it technically, is granted patents and is financially successful, at least for some time, but at the end of the day another solution wins out. Part of the collection of the Technisches Museum Wien (Vienna Technical Museum) is dedicated to the subject of ‘The right and wrong paths’.


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