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Andrew Gordon (Benedictine)


Andrew Gordon (Benedictine)

Andrew Gordon (15 June 1712 [NS 26 June] - 22 August 1751 [NS 2 September]) was a Scottish Benedictine monk, physicist and inventor. He made the first electric motor.


Andrew Gordon was born in

Gordon soon acquired considerable reputation by his works on electricity, among which were Phaenomena electricitatis exposita (1744), Philosophia utilis et jucunda (1745) and Physicae experimentalis elementa (1751–52).

For the sulphur ball of von Guericke (1671) and the glass globe of Isaac Newton (some say Hauksbee), Gordon substituted a glass cylinder which made an efficient frictional machine. Two other inventions in physics are noteworthy: the first is the light metallic star supported on a sharp pivot with the pointed ends bent at right angles to the rays and commonly called the electrical whirl, the second is the device known as the electric chimes. These inventions used to be described in textbooks of electricity; the name of Gordon was not always mentioned, though both inventions are fully described by him in his Versuch einer Erklarung der Electricitat (Erfurt 1745). Benjamin Franklin, who is usually credited with the latter invention, simply adopted the "German chimes" (described by Watson in his famous Sequel, 1746) to serve as an electrical annunciator in connection with his experimental lightning rod of 1752. The "whirl" was an electrostatic reaction motor, the earliest of its kind; while the second derives its theoretical importance as the first instance of the application of what came to be called electric convection.

Gordon died in Erfurt, Saxony.

See also


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