John W. GULLEY
Self-Sustaining Electric Engine
Unidentified Author / Untitled Article:
Back in 1966 Gulley invented an auto engine that ran on
magnets. Of course, we all know such a thing is impossible
(don’t we?) --- as did Joe Creason of the Louisville
Courier-Journal who took photographs of and witnessed it in
1966. Detroit got wind of it and sent their engineers down to
Kentucky to talk to Gulley. A Mr Hahn --- bigshot engineer at
Ford --- looked at Gulley’s charts and patents (registration #
211,702,317, Electric Motor) and told him it wouldn’t work. At
that time, the engine didn’t work --- but not fro design
defects. Gulley had built the engine out of old washing machine
parts with no precision fittings and it had run almost 600 miles
before it shook itself apart.
Hahn made one amusing mistake. On his flight out of Kentucky he
sat down next to Gulley’s attorney (unbeknownst to Hahn) and
proceeded to tell him all about Gulley’s motor and what made it
Gulley was later offered $35 million for the rights to hi
sengine by GM and refused to sell unless GM would promise
production. Shortly afterwards an unidentified male crawled
under Gulley’s backyard fence to take a shot at him with a heavy
caliber pistol. When the gun went off Gulley instantly grabbed a
20-gauge shotgun parked in the doorway and filled the guy full
of #4 buckshot. Gulley, thinking he had been hit because of hot
stucco that had fallen down his shirt from the bullet striking
near him, walked back into the house to call the law. When he
went back outside the body was gone --- but the ground where the
man had fallen was covered with so much blood it looked like
someone had been slaughtering a hog.
Gulley’s house has been broken into and ransacked repeatedly
Louisville Courier-Journal (11-30-71)
"Engine That Doen’t Guzzle Gas is Ready
If all goes well, in the near future --- the "very near"
future, he insists, John W. Gulley of Gratz finally will unwrap
and demonstrate publicly the non-fueled, non-polluting,
noiseless and self-sustaining electric engine he’s been working
on in secrecy for 25 years.
In Gulley’s naturally prejudiced judgment, which some experts
have sneered at but which has made qualified believers of
others, is the automobile of the future.
However, he’s quick to add that a power source for automobiles
is only one of its potential uses since, in his words, it can be
modified for application for everything "from sewing machines to
The engine Gulley plans to demonstrate is called the
Challenger, and it’s more efficient than prototype models he has
put together before. Like the previous devices, it is based on
the timed discharge of high voltage electricity from capacitors
into the field of coils of a modified electric motor.
Now that may sound like a lot of double talk to us average
laymen, but reduced to simple terms it means that the engine, if
proven, could truly revolutionize the auto industry since it
would weigh a furth as much, could be built for half the cost
and would operate without the air-polluting fuel of a
conventional combustion engine.
Although Gulley has hinted at plans to show his engine to the
public several times in the past, various complications --- his
health, patent problems, misunderstandings with his backers,
vandals who have broken into his workshop and destroyed his
prototypes --- have prevented him from doing so. This time, he
persists, all the pieces are in place and the unveiling
definitely will be held.
Gulley, who learned motor and generator skills during 13 years
in the Army, claims to have been besieged with offers from
potential investors after news of his invention was revealed
here in 1966. But he has turned down all offers because he was
convinced they "came from gas and oil people who would throw my
plans into the ocean".
Any arrangement he makes for producing the engine will include
a guarantee that ir will be marketed in competition with those
presently on the market and also that it will be manufactured
mainly in Kentucky.
Gulley’s greatest detractors have been those who say wheat he
claims to have done is an invasion of the never-never land of
"Only God is perpetual", he rebuts simply.
And so the mystery of whether or not John W. Gulley has
invented the engine of the future or just another pipe dream
soon may be answered.
Louisville Courier-Journal (1-26-67)
"Joe Creason’s Kentucky"
Three or four months ago I wrote about John W. Gulley, a Gratz,
KY inventor who has come up with a brand new concept in a
compact unit to power automobiles electrically.
The Gulley idea, which is based on a unit that generates its
own current as it operates, sounded so much like perpetual
motion, the power principle that man has dreamed about since the
dawn of time, that the story stirred up an unusual amount of
As a matter of fact, just this week I received two letters
asking about the invention, bringing to more than 75 the number
of inquiries that by now hae come in from Kentucky, Indiana, and
five other states.
So here is the latest chapter in the story that, if you’ll
pardon my leaning on the old Tom Swift series, might be titled
"The Further Adventures of John Gulley and his Electric
At present the invention which Gulley calls the Cobra Queen
Electric Powering Assembly in the papers he has filed with the
US Patent Office, is undergoing scientific research by an
outside engineering firm. The reason for this is to determine
the feasibility and practicality of the assembly in areas other
than just the electric propulsion of vehicles.
Gulley is pushing to have this work completed soon so that he
can demonstrate his idea in open competition against electric
cars being developed by at least two major manufacturers. He
hopes to be able to issue a challenge for public testing by
"I know the principles the big auto makers are using, and I
know my assembly is far superior", insists Gulley, a motor and
generator expert who has been working on his ideas since 1946.
Reduced to simplest terms, Gulley’s power plant doesn’t depend
on a battery --- and it was the bulky battery that had to be
recharged every few hours that caused earlier electric cars to
flop. His secret is a motor with a new type of winding that
never before has been submitted to the Patent Office. A battery
is needed only to start the unit; after that, it generates its
The power unit weighs less than half that of conventional
gasoline engines, and any known make of gas-burning car can be
converted to use it easily and cheaply merely by changing the
flywheel and applying it to the main power shaft of the Cobra
Queen, Gulley says.
Since my first story, Gulley himself has been besieged by
letters and calls from person wanting to invest in the idea,
technical magazines wanting to do detailed articles about his
car, and one letter from Senator Robert F. Kennedy, saying he
was calling to to the attention of federal authorities concerned
about air pollution.
The next chapter of the story won’t be written from some months
yet. I’ll keep you posted.
Louisville Courier-Journal (4-12-69)
"Patience Wearing Thin, Inventor Plans
Since he’s been nursing his idea for an engine to power
automobiles electrically for 23 years now, you’d have to say
that John W. Gulley has the patience of a prophet.
But his patience is beginning to wear a mite thin and he’s
beginning to tire of demonstrating his idea to experts and then
having them just tell him it’s the most revolutionary thing
they’ve ever seen.
In short, John Gulley, who lives at Gratz, KY, thinks it’s
about time the fish started biting.
After all, as he explains, every expert who has examined his
electric powering device (including technologists for both the
Army and Navy) have declared them to be theoretically sound.
Moreover, with health exerts showing alarm over the way gas and
diesel engines are pushing air pollution to the danger level, he
believes the time is right for a non-polluting motor that can
replace internal combustion engines.
If it was known what his motor can do without polluting the
air, and at a fraction of the cost of conventional methods,
Gulley believes the public would be clamoring for his engine.
Then not even the powerful oil and automobile lobbies, which he
suspects are working against him, could continue to keep his
ideas on ice.
The Gulley secret, which he started developing in 1946, is a
compact motor he has patented under the name of Cobra Electric
Powering Assembly and which generates its own current as it
operates. A battery is needed only for a split second on
In case you feel that sounds suspicious like the age-old theory
of perpetual motion, you’re right. As a matte of fact, that’s
the first hurdle Gulley has had to clear in every instance where
skeptical experts have been converted into believers.
"It isn’t perpetual motion", Gulley insists, "because bearings,
shafts and such will wear out".
Gulley’s growing impatience arises from the fact that, after
putting his plans through computers which stamped them as sound,
the Army Engineers have delayed having a private research
organization start a detailed study.
If something isn’t done by May 15, Gulley plans to shake things
up with a public demonstration. He’ll take a car fitted with one
of his engines to Bufflao, NY, and drive it across the continent
to Los Angeles. That would prove several things, he believes:
that the car does not use any fuel, it employs no energy except
that generated by his motor, and it can operate at maximum speed
limit for long distances without having to get the power source
The Cobra Queen is only one Gulley invention. He has also
developed the Swengine, an electric engine that drives a
generator furnishing current back to the motor. This unit, he
says, could power ships, the largest earth-moving machines, and
But at the moment, the Cobra Queen is the motor he’s impatient
Louisville Courier-Journal (11-8-70)
"Inventor Claims Car of Tomorrow"
John Gulley’s promise to the world of tomorrow is a noiseless,
smooth-riding electric automobile, cost-free in operation and
emiting no fumes to pollute the air.
Working in a small, cluttered shop in rural Henry County, the
self-styled disciple o Albert Einstein claims his machine is
ready for mass production.
Further, he adds, the Einsteinian principles that make his car
run can be modified for application in the entire field of
mechanical movements --- "everything from a sewing machine to a
"The day is coming", he said, "when all household appliance
will run on their own power, with no help from electricity wired
into the house.
Such talk naturally draws more smiling disbelief than it does
open-mouthed awe from scientists and engineers, especially
coming, as it does, from a high-school dropout and self-taught
inventor, working in the unlikely location of Gratz (population
The scientific sneers come, however, only fro those who have
only heard the 64-year old Gulley’s "impossible" theories, his
claims of taking up where Einstein left off in the "unknown
field" of gravity as a source of electric energy.
In Penfield, NY, lives a reputable young scientist who spent
three months with Gulley and was made a qualified believer.
Van Combs said from his home in Penfield that Gulley "can do
things from a practical point of view that defy present
I can understand that he must be secretive, but he has got to
find somebody he can trust and allow them to take his devices
apart. I don’t know why he has delayed. It makes it all look a
Gulley says his automobile is powered only by his own design of
cils and a generator, using a battery for the sole purpose of
activating the motor.
He says he drove an experimental machine "27 miles short of 600
miles at zero cost" and that when it stopped running "there
still was no trouble in the electrical system".
Gulley says his car engine weighs a fourth as much as an
internal combustion engine, can be built for half the cost, and
will last 10 times as long.
Gulley claims that modifications produce a motor capable of
10,000 rpm, comparable to the average 8-cylinder car’s 5000 to
"My devices are important to the aircraft people too", he said.
"They can run as fast as the jet. They can power big earth
movers, cranes and anything needing great power".
So why doesn’t Gulley get on with the show?
His story is that he has received offers up to $36 million for
his patents from men representing auto makers who "would throw
my plans in the Atlantic Ocean just so they can protect the big
oil and gasoline people".
He said he will demand guaranteed arrangements form trustworthy
financiers who will actually market his devices in competition
with present industrial giants.
He will also demand, he said, that most of the manufacturing
machinery, for parts and assembly, be housed in Kentucky as part
of a dream to make Kentucky the "greatest industrial state in
Living now on a disability pension form the Army, Gulley was
asked to explain his ability to reject such offers as $36
"I would have just a big stack of money to fool with", he said.
"I wouldn’t have to work. When this thin is worked out the way I
want it to be and the money does come along, I plan definitely
to give 9 out of every 10 dollars I receive to feed the hungry
people of the world. I have no desire for wealth".
Louisville Courier-Journal (1-7-74)
"Gasless Engine: A Solution to the Energy
It’s been an agonizingly long waiting period --- going on 30
years, actually --- but John W. Gulley of Gratz, KY believes
1974 just may be the year when he makes a major contribution to
the energy crisis.
To say the least, in the next few days some high brass from the
US Army Engineers’ Office of Power Technology will be coming to
Guley’s garage workshop in Gratz to look into his claim that he
has perfected an idea that could make gasoline a thing of the
past as a transportation power source.
You see, Gulley is the inventor of the "Swengine", a small,
noiseless, self-contined electric engine that, according to him,
could be modified to power anything from sewing machines to
submarines --- but especially automobiles.
Gulley is now convinced, he says, that the skeptics who for
years scoffed at his inventions are now being won over and that
actual production of his Swengine could begin soon.
If this comes to pass, if the Swengine lives up to his claims,
the result could be the most revolutionary development in the
history of the automobile industry.
Imagine, if you will, a car engine that not only weighs a
fourth as much as normal internal combustion engines, but
requires no fuel, no cooling, no intake or exhaust systems and
doesn’t emit carbon monoxide fumes to befoul the air. Add to
these energy and environmental advantages Gulley’s conviction
that it can be built for half the cost and las 10 ties as long
as conventional engines and the potential impact of the Swengine
Although the Swengine is patented, as is also the Quagga Scout,
a motor, it is difficult to describe Gulley’s invention in
detail because it involves many so-called "impossible" theories.
But put loosely in lay language, the Swengine operates on his
own design of electromagnets and a generator that powers the
engine after it has been started by a battery. There being no
friction bearings, the engine has indefinite life expectancy.
Since all that suggest the field of gravity as a source of
electrical energy, skeptics have said Gulley is laying claim to
having created perpetual motion.
"This is not perpetual motion", he counters. "The material used
in this engine will wear out in time and for that reason, if no
other, it isn’t perpetual".
Gulley, now 67, is a motor and generator expert who learned his
skill during 13 years of Army service. He started thinking about
an electric car in 1946 after he was retired because of a
After repeated experiments, he finally developed an engine he
called the Cobra Queen and tested it in a car. He wasn’t given
the time of day when he started trying to sell his idea to
manufacturers. In retrospect, he suspects the powerful oil and
auto lobbies have been working against him all along because of
what his invention could do to them.
Finally, after the Swengine evolved from continued
experimenting and since he felt he could trust the Army not to
put his idea on ice if it could be proven, he decided to try the
Washington route. At first that was slow going, too, but in the
last year, with the help of Senator Marlow Cook and
Representative Tim Lee Carter, who set up appointments for him
with the right people, the Army began to show more and more
Although he’s been disappointed before, Gulley believes the
upcoming meeting with engineers from the Office of Power
Technology may be the light at the end of the tunnel. He hopes
to have an engine in his car at that time to use in a
Who knows? Maybe a breakthrough the energy-starved world needs
will be coming from a setting as unlikely as a garage workshop
at Gratz, Kentucky. If it’s ever going to come, now is precisely
the right time.