National Geographic : 1940 Oct
ANY BOY CAN make a motor 4 We4swoae * For a thing so important to modern life, an electric motor is an amazingly sim ple device. Just a few pieces of steel, iron and copper, wound with coils of wire. Any bright boy can follow instructions and make one that will run. * Yet the most romantic story ever told could be written about the electric motor. It runs practically every mechanical device in use today. It turns the wheels of industry. It carries people to work from the suburbs to the topmost floors of tall buildings. It changes housekeeping from dreadeddrudg ery to delightful adventure. Our daily lives and livelihoods depend-more than we realize-upon the smooth, effortless spin of a thousand electric motors. * In fact, electric motors are so com mon nowadays that we accept them as our primitive ancestors accepted air, water and fire. We flick a switch-and an automatic razor zips off our whiskers. We push a but ton-and our automobile motor starts. A faucet turns-and a faraway pump delivers water. A vacuum cleaner cleans, an electric fan cools, an adding machine adds, a pho nograph plays-and it's all automatic, as far as most of us are concerned. * We have been making electric mo tors for a great many years-in fact we've made millions and millions of them. Nat urally, we have improved their design and construction considerably since 1886. We can remember when we thought a '-horse power motor, which took up more than a cubic foot of room, was a pretty commend able achievement. Now we can pack the same horsepower into a third of the space, sell it for less, and save the user a big divi dend in operating cost. * But after all,it's fitting the motor to the job that really counts. A -horsepower motor and a 10-horsepower job just can't be combined. Neither can an oil rig and a motor designed for an air conditioning system. That is why Westinghouse offers stock motors in thousands of types, sizes and ratings. And if none of these is exactly what is needed, a special model will be built to order. * The electric motor is "bread and butter" to us-and to almost everyone else. The more we learn about the jobs it can do, the more we can add to its usefulness. Meanwhile, we keep right on with the testing, experimenting and improving that have helped to make the electric motor the unsung hero of American progress. "Mention the Geographic-It identifies you."