Sara Swanson

Hand-cranked generator on display at the Manchester District Library

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Interactive generator display. Photo courtesy of Manchester District Library.

Interactive generator display. Photo courtesy of Manchester District Library.

Now through August, the Manchester District Library will continue to display an interactive Hand-Cranked generator on loan from the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

The first electric generator using magnets was made by Michael Faraday in 1831. Generators work by converting the mechanical energy of the user turning the hand crank into electrical energy. By rotating a group of magnets inside a set of wire coils an electric current is created in the coils. This electricity is used to power the items attached to it. The generator on display in the library has four different items attached to it: a light bulb, a head light, a fan, and a beacon light. You can try to power a single one, all four at the same time, or any combination of them. It takes more energy to run more things, and the crank will become harder to turn as you try to power more items with it. The average human can continuously generate about 250 watts of electricity .

To try out this fun, enlightening interactive display, visit the Manchester District Library at 912 City Road.

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