A fractional horsepower [FHP], resilient-mounted electric fan motor for the Winter "air conditioner," by Leland Electric, Guelph, Ontario, circa 1959.

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.

G. Leslie Oliver, Mark Dorlandt Photography.
Ron Shuker, Nigel Heseltine
c. 1959
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