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Power StrugglesScientific Authority and the Creation of Practical Electricity Before Edison$
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Michael Brian Schiffer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262195829

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262195829.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 26 October 2021

Action at a Distance

Action at a Distance

(p.191) 15 Action at a Distance
Power Struggles

Michael Brian Schiffer

The MIT Press

This chapter highlights the multiple uses of electromagnets that made them universally accepted. Electromagnets were used in nautical technologies where the pilot would send messages to his engineer or helmsman using a five-position electromagnet. J.P. Joule also invented an electromagnetic compass which made sure that the ship was steering along the correct course. Electromagnets were used in the boilers of ships to regulate the water levels because these machines would ring an alarm bell if the level of water in the steam boiler was dangerously high; on the other hand, alarm bells that functioned on electromagnets were set up in factories to catch thieves. Electric clocks employed electromagnets; an electromagnet moved a ratchet wheel that drove a gear train and also wound a spring which caused the hands of the clock to move.

Keywords:   electromagnets, nautical technologies, J.P. Joule, pilot, steam boiler, alarm bell, electric clock, electromagnetic compass

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