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Thomas Davenport
Birth: Jul. 9, 1802
Williamstown
Orange County
Vermont, USA
Death: Jul. 6, 1851
Salisbury
Addison County
Vermont, USA

Inventor. A blacksmith, in the 1830s he experimented with the assistance of his wife Emily and fellow inventor Orange Smalley. In 1835 he patented the first electric motor, and used it to power a model railway. Convinced of the motor's commercial possibilities, he moved to New York City and attempted to attract investors by demonstrating how it operated a printing press and other machines. The venture failed because no one could predict the amount of energy available in the primitive chemical batteries then in use, meaning a direct current (DC) motor couldn't compete with the steam engine. Bankrupt, Davenport returned to Vermont and started a book describing his vision for electricity's future, but died just days before his 49th birthday. By the 1860s, a new generation of inventors determined that Davenport's motor worked in reverse, with water or steam powering it to function as a generator. By the late 1800s electric trains and trolleys were common, with a Davenport motor generating electricity at a central plant and another converting it to power that moved the cars. Recognizing that increased demand required a larger manufacturing capacity, Thomas Edison started a factory in Schenectady that became General Electric. GE's first products were motors and generators that copied Davenport's, and the realization that his motor generated power by running in one direction and provided it by running in the other led to the creation of alternating current (AC), giving rise to electric lights and other appliances. There is a monument to Davenport in Forest Dale, and the Smalley-Davenport Shop has been the subject of state historic preservation efforts. (bio by: Bill McKern) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Daniel Davenport (1764 - 1812)
  Hannah Rice Davenport (1767 - 1844)
 
 Spouse:
  Emily Goss Weeks (____ - 1862)*
 
 Children:
  George Daniel Davenport (1832 - 1864)*
  Willard Goss Davenport (1843 - 1919)*
 
 Siblings:
  Simeon Devenport (1787 - 1860)*
  Amos Davenport (1793 - 1863)*
  Thomas Davenport (1798 - 1802)*
  Charlotte Davenport (1800 - 1812)*
  Thomas Davenport (1802 - 1851)
  Oliver Davenport (1804 - 1895)*
  Rice Davenport (1812 - 1894)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Pine Hill Cemetery
Brandon
Rutland County
Vermont, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bill McKern
Record added: Aug 16, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40741185
Thomas Davenport
Added by: Bill McKern
 
Thomas Davenport
Added by: Jen Snoots
 
Thomas Davenport
Added by: Jen Snoots
 
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- CJS
 Added: Aug. 11, 2012

- Jen Snoots
 Added: Aug. 10, 2012
Thank you for the inventions. RIP.
- a sincere fan
 Added: Jul. 6, 2012
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