Pixii, Antoine Hippolyte

SUBJECT AREA: Electricity
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b. 1808 France
d. 1835
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French instrument maker who devised the first machine to incorporate the basic elements of a modern electric generator.
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Mechanical devices to transform energy from a mechanical to an electrical form followed shortly after Faraday's discovery of induction. One of the earliest was Pixii's magneto generator. Pixii had been an instrument maker to Arago and Ampère for a number of years and his machine was first announced to the Academy of Sciences in Paris in September 1832. In this hand-driven generator a permanent magnet was rotated in close proximity to two coils on soft iron cores, producing an alternating current. Subsequently Pixii adapted to a larger version of his machine a "see-saw" switch or commutator devised by Ampère, in order to obtain a unidirectional current. The machine provided a current similar to that obtained with a chemical cell and was capable of decomposing water into oxygen and hydrogen. It was the prototype of many magneto-electric machines which followed.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
Academy of Sciences, Paris, Gold Medal 1832.
Further Reading
B.Bowers, 1982, A History of Electric Light and Power, London, pp. 70–2 (describes the development of Pixii's generator).
C.Jackson, 1833, "Notice of the revolving electric magnet of Mr Pixii of Paris", American Journal of Science 24:146–7.
GW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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