On this day April 29, 1882

The “Elektromote” – forerunner of the trolleybus – is tested by Ernst Werner von Siemens in Berlin.

World's first trolleybus

World's first trolleybus

The Elektromote was the world’s first trolleybus, which was first presented to the public on April 29, 1882 by its inventor Dr. Ernst Werner von Siemens in Halensee, a suburb of Berlin, Germany.

The Elektromote operated from April 29 to June 13, 1882, on a 540 m (591 yard) trail-track starting at Halensee train station, and thence to “Straße No. 5”, today’s Joachim-Friedrich-Straße, and “Straße No. 13”, today’s Johann-Georg-Straße, crossing the Kurfürstendamm at the Kurfürstenplatz.

The Elektromote was a converted four-wheel coach, equipped with two 2.2 kW electric motors transmitting the power using a chain drive to the rear wheels. The voltage used was 550 V DC. The electric power transmission to the coach was by a flexible cable pulling a small eight-wheeled “contact car” (Kontaktwagen) that ran along the power lines. In English language use, the Kontaktwagen was later named the “trolley”, giving the trolleybus its name.

This experimental vehicle already fulfilled all the criteria of a typical trolleybus. After the demonstration runs closed on June 13, the test track was dismantled on June 20, 1882.

Apart from the Elektromote and the pointer telegraph Siemens made several contributions to the development of electrical engineering and is therefore known as the founding father of the discipline in Germany. He built the world’s first electric elevator in 1880.

His company produced the tubes with which Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen investigated x-rays. He claimed invention of the dynamo although others invented it earlier. On December 14, 1877 he received German patent No. 2355 for an electromechanical “dynamic” or moving-coil transducer, which was adapted by A. L. Thuras and E. C. Wente for the Bell System in the late 1920s for use as a loudspeaker. Wente’s adaptation was issued US patent 1,707,545 in 1929.

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