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Patent for the Electric Dynamo
By Energy Information Administration
Mar 17, 2006, 11:54am

Tesla patented a device to induce electrical current in a piece of iron (a rotor) spinning between two electrified coils of wire. This rotating magnetic field device generates AC current when it is made to rotate by using some form mechanical energy, like steam or hydropower. When the generated current reaches its user and is fed into another rotating magnetic field device, this second device becomes an AC induction motor that produces mechanical energy. Induction motors run household appliances like clothes washers and dryers. Development of these devices led to widespread industrial and manufacturing uses for electricity.

The induction motor was only part of Tesla's overall conception. In a series of history-making patents, he demonstrated a polyphase alternating-current system, consisting of a generator, transformers, transmission layout, and motor and lights. From the power source to the power user, it provided the basic elements for electrical production and utilization. Our AC power system remains essentially unchanged today.

In 1888, George Westinghouse, head of the Westinghouse Electric Company, bought the patent rights to Tesla's system of dynamos, transformers and motors. Westinghouse used Tesla's alternating current system to light the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. Then in 1896, Tesla's system was used at Niagara Falls in the world's first large hydroelectric plant.

Patent Number 390,414

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