Only two years after Michael Faraday's ground-breaking work developing an electromagnetic motor, William Sturgeon demonstrated how it could be made of practical use by building the first electromagnet that created such a strong magnetic force that it could lift more than its own weight in iron. By wrapping a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron in a coil of wire, and passing an electric current through the wire, the iron became magnetised. He was able to use a seven-ounce piece of iron to lift a full nine pounds. One of the key things about Sturgeon's electromagnet was that he was able to regulate and control it. This paved the way for its use in all kinds of electric motors, as it is today.
Editors. "Electromagnet invented by William Sturgeon". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 August 2013
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=6254, accessed 19 September 2014.]