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Rutland, Vermont. Thomas Davenport invented his electric motor in 1834, but didn't apply for a patent until 1836. U.S. patent No. 132 entitled "Improvements in propelling machinery by magnetism and electro-magnetism" was granted to him on 25 February 1837. Unlike past models that were too weak for practical purposes, Davenport's motors grew powerful enough to run lathes, drills and even printing presses.