Birthplace of the Electric Motor in 1834
This Historic Site Review of the Smalley-Davenport Shop in Forestdale, Vermont, was prepared for the State of Vermont Department of State Buildings and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation, Montpelier, Vermont, in
The study documents the building and addresses the following research questions:
- Was this the actual building where Orange Smalley and Thomas Davenport collaborated on experiments with electromagnetism that eventually resulted in the patent of the electric motor by Davenport in 1837?
- If so, does any physical evidence remain of this period of the building's significance?
- Is there any evidence to substantial a theory that the building may have been moved to its present location from the Forestdale Iron Works?
- If the building had been moved from the Forestdale Iron Works, would it be appropriate to move the building back to this state-owned historic site for use as an interpretive center?
The historical research was conducted during March and April of 1992. This included archival research conducted at the Brandon Town Clerk's Office, the Brandon Free Public Library, the Vermont Historical Society in Montpelier, Vermont and Special Collections at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Much of the twentieth century history of the site was gathered through interviews with residents in Forestdale, a village in the town of Brandon, Vermont. Physical historical evidence was gathered through site visits and non-destructive analysis of the building.
Acknowledgments are gratefully extended to the following persons for their assistance with this project: Charles Capen and family, Seeley Disorda, Mary Kennedy, Henry Paynter, Arthur Pfennig, UVM graduate student Erik Hanson, the staff at the Brandon Public Library, the Brandon Town Clerk's Office, the Vermont Historical Society, Special Collections at the University of Vermont, the Vermont Department of State Buildings, and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.
On to the History
©1995 UVM Historic Preservation Program
Revised 10/23/95 by Thos. Visser