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In 1824, the French physicist François Arago formulated the existence of rotating magnetic fields, termed Arago's rotations. By manually turning switches on and off, Walter Baily demonstrated this in 1879, effectively the first primitive induction motor.
The first commutator-free single phase AC induction motor was invented by Hungarian engineer Ottó Bláthy; he used the single phase motor to propel his invention, the electricity meter.
The first AC commutator-free three-phase induction motors were independently invented by Galileo Ferraris and Nikola Tesla, a working motor model having been demonstrated by the former in 1885 and by the latter in 1887. Tesla applied for US patents in October and November 1887 and was granted some of these patents in May 1888. Although Tesla's first motor was invented in 1883 while he was working in Edison's company in Paris. Tesla's first motor was demonstrated to some investors with the help of Mayor of the city, Mr.Bauzin.Tesla's motor functioned perfectly but the investors do not find any practical significance. Tesla later wrote about this motor "a crude apparatus, but it afforded me the supreme satisfaction for seeing it for first time, rotation effected by different phases of alternating current without commutator". In April 1888, the Royal Academy of Science of Turin published Ferraris's research on his AC polyphase motor detailing the foundations of motor operation.[In May 1888 Tesla presented the technical paper A New System for Alternating Current Motors and Transformers to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers describing three four-stator-pole motor types: one with a four-pole rotor forming a non-self-starting reluctance motor, another with a wound rotor forming a self-starting induction motor, and the third a true synchronous motor with separately excited DC supply to rotor winding.Before the publication of Galileo Ferraris's technichal paper Tesla also filed for his other patents related to polyphase system of generation and distribution of electricity.Those patents were granted without any delay.
George Westinghouse, who was developing an alternating current power system at that time, licensed Tesla's patents in 1888 and purchased a US patent option on Ferraris' induction motor concept. Tesla was also employed for one year as a consultant. Westinghouse employee C. F. Scott was assigned to assist Tesla and later took over development of the induction motor at Westinghouse. Steadfast in his promotion of three-phase development, Mikhail Dolivo-Dobrovolsky invented the cage-rotor induction motor in 1889 and the three-limb transformer in 1890. Furthermore, he claimed that Tesla's motor was not practical because of two-phase pulsations, which prompted him to persist in his three-phase work. Although Westinghouse achieved its first practical induction motor in 1892 and developed a line of polyphase 60 hertz induction motors in 1893, these early Westinghouse motors were two-phase motors with wound rotors until B. G. Lamme developed a rotating bar winding rotor.
The General Electric Company (GE) began developing three-phase induction motors in 1891. By 1896, General Electric and Westinghouse signed a cross-licensing agreement for the bar-winding-rotor design, later called the squirrel-cage rotor. Arthur E. Kennelly was the first to bring out the full significance of complex numbers (using j to represent the square root of minus one) to designate the 90º rotation operator in analysis of AC problems.GE's Charles Proteus Steinmetz greatly developed application of AC complex quantities including an analysis model now commonly known as the induction motor Steinmetz equivalent circuit.
Induction motor improvements flowing from these inventions and innovations were such that a 100-horsepower induction motor currently has the same mounting dimensions as a 7.5-horsepower motor in 1897.
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