EARLY ADOPTER: Portrait
of Gustave Trouvé from
Histoire d’un Inventeur
by Georges Barral, one of
several original texts at
The Bakken Library and
Museum of Electricity in
Life, in Minneapolis.
and revolutionized medicine, and theatrical effects that
wowed international audiences.
Photography by Bruce Challgren. Courtesy of The Bakken Library, Minneapolis, Elizabeth Ihrig, librarian. thebakken.org
Gustave Trouvé was like Thomas
Edison, Alexander Graham Bell,
and Igor Sikorsky rolled into one.
By Karen K. Hansen
Talking with makers in the 21st century, you might find
the conversation turning to alternative energy, electric
vehicles, medical breakthroughs, and special effects.
These subjects would be déjà vu to Gustave Trouvé, a
French inventor born in 1839, who created the first elec-
tric vehicle and outboard boat motor, the most-used
military telegraph, endoscopes that stirred controversy
30 Make: Volume 17