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| ||Electromagnet devised by Joseph Henry, 1831
Before becoming the first secretary of the Smithsonian in 1846, Henry was renowned in the scientific community for his studies of electricity and its practical applications. In 1831 he built this powerful electromagnet for a colleague at Yale University. Sixty years later, when the lightbulb, generator, telegraph, and telephone were transforming people's lives, Henry was recast as an electrical engineering pioneer. To honor him, Smithsonian curators assembled relics of his scientific career and created an exhibit of his discoveries in electricity. Some of Henry's apparatus had remained in the Smithsonian since his death in 1878; additional material was collected from Henry's daughters and from Yale, which donated this magnet in 1893.
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