Very Interesting Dual Output Magneto
Electric Machine from Brad
Here are some pictures of my Magneto.
I'll tell you as much as I know.
Looks like the original owner was in England, as there is a label.
It made its way to Israel and the person I purchased it from said it was
handed down through generations.
It looks like it has a brass brush or points, as from what I have seen in
the pictures, the others look like spring steel.
The corners of the armature rotor are round, some are square. The area
where the handle is stored is squared off.
And you can see the 2 terminals, one on each left hand corner. The
original output terminal is on the left side but now its on the front left
with the DC terminal on the left side the the other terminal is in the
same right side.
Also the label says DC or AC, but its faded but I can barely see it.
It is in very good condition, either someone refinished the case or it was
Very interesting, Brad. This machine is too early for the term "AC"
- the second current quoted is "TO AND FRO CURRENT",
which is very interesting! I have to ask other collectors if they
have any similar machines. At least for me, this is really cool!
The brass handles are definitely modern and not original.
Ari Davis patent, 01 August 1854; George Washington Fairbanks
Davis & Kidder were Ari Davis and Walter Kidder, not Daniel Davis and
Jerome Kidder as many believe. (Thanks to Dean Currier's book for
The actual instrument maker who made them was George Washington Fairbanks,
seen above and elsewhere on this site in a younger photo(with a small
(VIII) George Washington Fairbanks, son of Joel Fairbanks (7), born in New
Boston, New Hampshire, March 28. 1828, died in Lynn, Massachusetts,
November 27, 1884. He was educated in the public schools of his native
town. He was apprenticed to a harness maker, but disliking the trade he
ran away and shipped as a sailor on a sailing vessel. In 1849 he was
appointed a messenger in the library of the Smithsonian Institution,
Washington, and attended lectures in the Institution several years. He
made meteorological observations under the direction of Professor Joseph
Henry, then secretary of the Institution. In November, 1851, he went to
New York. He was a skillful mechanic both in metals and wood, and he
became associated with an inventor named Ari Davis in making
magneto-electric machines, which become a recognized necessity for the
physical laboratories of schools and colleges, and were employed quite
extensively by physicians and in the United States hospitals in nervous
diseases ; though at this time the manufacture of electric appliances was
in its infancy, and were often little more than fashionable toys. Ari
Davis sold his patent-right to a Dr. Kidder who sold to William Burnap,
for whom Mr. Fairbanks made the machines in Lowell, Massachusetts, and in
New York City, for a number of years, with constantly increasing demands,
in medical practice, and the arts. In 1861 Mr. Fairbanks removed to Lynn,
and there purchased a dwelling house with a large lot of land on Lewis
street, which is still occupied by his wife and daughters. He still worked
at the old trade in New York City, and again located there for a time
between 1867 and 1871, but finally returned to Lynn for a permanent
residence in 1871, and there for a time manufactured the machines in his
own name. He had also worked as a shoe-cutter and a carpenter in Lynn, at
intervals while his business was unsettled. Several years before his death
he retired from active life. He died November 27, 1884. He was a member of
the Knights of Pythias order, which commended his genial and amiable
qualities in resolutions at his death; he was independent in politics, and
connected with no church.
He married, at Washington, February 26, 1852, Jane Clark, born at Pictou,
Nova Scotia. June, 1826, daughter of David and Marjorie (McIntosh) Clark.
Children: 1. George Augustus, born in New York City, January 21, 1853,
died there September 17, 1853. 2. Abbie Loetta, mentioned below. 3.
William Henry, born November 16, 1860, in New York City, died in Lynn, May
Thanks for sharing, Brad. Let me see what I can find!
(C) Jeff Behary , 2012