Who Invented the Maglev?


Quick Answer

In 1914, the French-born American inventor Emile Bachelet presented his ideas and a display model of a maglev vehicle. A report in the Swiss journal Schweizer Familie from the same year shows a photograph of the event and provides some information about his project vision as well as the model.

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Full Answer

Born in 1863, Bachelet emigrated to the United States in the 1880s. He worked as an electrician and discovered therapeutic applications for electromagnets in the cure of rheumatism and relief of arthritic pain. Starting in the 1890s, to exploit related medical devices commercially for which he was granted several patents, he began work on magnetic forces through electromagnets.

In March 1912, Bachelet obtained a patent for a levitating transmitting apparatus from the U.S. Patent Office (Patent No. 1,020,942). The invention is described as a machine to transfer bodies at a very high speed from one point to another. This machine also became known as a maglev. It was primarily meant for the transmission of mail and small packages by a carrier and was later applied on a larger scale in trains carrying freight or passengers. The invention of the maglev is one of the fundamental predecessors of the technologies surrounding modern electromagnetically levitated trains (so-called Maglev trains for magnetic levitation).

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