What keeps the world moving?

150 years of the dynamoelectric principle. Follow the trail of an ingenious discovery, one that has revolutionized our everyday lives like no other.
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From lab testing to an innovative drive

Werner von Siemens discovered the dynamoelectric principle 150 years ago – and in doing so laid the foundation for modern electrical engineering. For it was the discovery of this principle that made the practical application of electricity possible. Over the past 150 years, the dynamo of 1866 has grown into the world's largest family of electric motors: SIMOTICS. Innovative drive technology for all industries, all applications and all performance classes. And new developments keep coming.

A workshop in Berlin sets the world in motion

The discovery of the electrodynamic principle traces its history back to 1808 in England, when the physicist Humphrey Davy began experimenting with electric arc lamps. These lamps obtained their energy from so-called electromagnetic machines, or slowly rotating steel magnets. Their disadvantages were their high weight and low power. But the idea's potential was enormous. Werner von Siemens recognized these possibilities, and in 1866 he began working on ways to refine the principle in his Berlin factory. The result was the dynamo. And a technological leap forward of unimagined dimensions that paved the way for the electromotive drive.

A vision revolutionizes industry and the business community

It would be hard to imagine life without electrical energy. The dynamoelectric principle began to unfold its full potential shortly after it was discovered. The world's first electric railway was built in 1879, followed by the first electric elevator one year later – and the number of innovations increased year after year.
Lighting,  transportation, overhead contact lines – the dynamoelectric principle revolutionized all spheres of life, including industry and the business community. Electricity became affordable and was an increasingly available source of propulsion. But it continued to be generated based on the electrodynamic principle. With the difference that today's generators from Siemens can produce billions of times more electricity than the dynamo of 1866.

"Electrical energy and magnetism will change the world."
Joseph Henry, discoverer of electromagnetism
"With the right design, the effects must be enormous. The phenomenon (...) can usher in a new era in electromagnetism."
Werner von Siemens
How does the dynamoelectric principle work?

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Innovation: The pulse of Siemensstadt

The amount of space required by the Siemens production facilities grew along with the company's success. But there was not enough room in Berlin for further expansion. Werner von Siemens therefore decided to locate the entire factory complex as well as all administrative units in one place outside the city – in an area known as Nonnenwiesen (Nun's Meadow). "Siemensstadt" was constructed there between 1897 and 1930: 200 hectares of land with production and administrative buildings as well as traffic infrastructure and social services. The dynamo plant has been in the midst of it all since 1906. It is the oldest manufacturing facility in Siemensstadt and remains an important economic factor for Berlin to this day. What may well be Werner von Siemens' most famous discovery, the dynamoelectric principle, lives on here and continues to inspire new applications. More than 750 employees constantly implement their innovative ideas in the development of better motors and generators, which are known throughout the world for their outstanding reliability and maximum performance.
Historical references

Ideas that continue to resonate today

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