By the mid-1920s the search was on for a small, self-starting, electric motor, operating on alternating current (by then the choice of most power utilities). For use in the home an electric motor must be self-starting, quiet, and vibration free. It must run at a constant speed under varying loads, be compact, have a built-in automatic overload device, and be affordable in a competitive marketplace.

The demand created for FHP electric motors had already greatly accelerated work in magnetic circuit theory. Steinnetz demonstrated the theoretic possibility of a capacitor-start motor only a few short years before it would be a dominant form of motive power in Canadian homes. Shortly, in its many forms, it would power modern, automatic, central heating systems

Beginning in the 1930s the split-phase, alternating current, induction motor would evolve, designed and engineered for domestic appliance applications. It would have a starting winding and automatic centrifugal switching mechanism and built-in overload protection.

It would be difficult, too, to imagine a more elegant device, in those days, one which directly reflects the laws, principles and discov Read More
By the mid-1920s the search was on for a small, self-starting, electric motor, operating on alternating current (by then the choice of most power utilities). For use in the home an electric motor must be self-starting, quiet, and vibration free. It must run at a constant speed under varying loads, be compact, have a built-in automatic overload device, and be affordable in a competitive marketplace.

The demand created for FHP electric motors had already greatly accelerated work in magnetic circuit theory. Steinnetz demonstrated the theoretic possibility of a capacitor-start motor only a few short years before it would be a dominant form of motive power in Canadian homes. Shortly, in its many forms, it would power modern, automatic, central heating systems

Beginning in the 1930s the split-phase, alternating current, induction motor would evolve, designed and engineered for domestic appliance applications. It would have a starting winding and automatic centrifugal switching mechanism and built-in overload protection.

It would be difficult, too, to imagine a more elegant device, in those days, one which directly reflects the laws, principles and discoveries of science, turning them into useful products through extraordinary human ingenuity.
* Research from the archives of the HVACR Heritage Centre Canada (DCSB #67, HD1007J)
* Historical artifact from the HVACR Heritage Centre Canada, T. H. Oliver Collection, Accession No. 2006.169.
* Lloyd, Puchstein, Alternating-Current Machines: Second Edition (New York: Wiley and Sons, 1949).
* William Timbie and Vannevar Bush, Principles of Electrical Engineering (New York: John Wiley and Sons 1940)”
* Cycil Veinott, Fractional Horsepower Electric Motors, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948).
* G. L. Oliver, The Fractional Horsepower Motor and Its Impact on Canadian Society and Culture, Material History Review, Spring 1996.

© 2011, HVACR Heritage Centre Canada. All Rights Reserved.

Compact FHP electric motor

The compact fractional horsepower (FHP) electric motor has become a kind of cultural icon of contemporary Western cultural reality, triggering pervasive technological, social, cultural and economic change.

G. Leslie Oliver, Mark Dorlandt Photography.
Ron Shuker, Nigel Heseltine.
c. 1959
Canada, CANADA
2006.169
© 2011, HVACR Heritage Centre Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Automatic switch and starting and running windings

Left, automatic switch converts from starting to running winding, and, right, starting and running windings.

G. Leslie Oliver, Mark Dorlandt Photography.
Ron Shuker, Nigel Heseltine
c. 1959
© 2011, HVACR Heritage Centre Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Squirrel cage rotor

High tech, solid state, squirrel cage rotor for FHP electric motor.

G. Leslie Oliver, Mark Dorlandt Photography.
Ron Shuker, Nigel Heseltine.
c. 1959
Canada, CANADA
HHCC 2006-169
© 2011, HVACR Heritage Centre Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Nameplate for a fractional horsepower (FHP) motor

Nameplate for a fractional horsepower (FHP) motor providing important information related to its operation, such as the number of volts and amps of electricity it requires, the rpm and the size of horsepower (in this case, 1/4) it generates.

G. Leslie Oliver, Mark Dorlandt Photography.
Ron Shuker, Nigel Heseltine
c. 1959
© 2011, HVACR Heritage Centre Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

1.) Have you ever tried to be creative or an inventor for a Science Fair or something similar? Or what problem would you like to solve, with a compact FHP motor?

2.) What similarities do you see between the miniature computer chip and fractional horsepower motors (less than 1 hp) in advancing modern appliances and digital equipment?

3.) When you look around your home at the many different electric appliances your family has, which ones would be missing if there were no small electric motors?

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