Norman L. DEAN

Inertial Drive

ANALOG Science Fiction / Science Fact (June 1976)

Detesters, Phasers and Dean Drives


G. Harry Stine

In common with many other people, I once carried on a prolific correspondence with the late John W Campbell, former Editor of Analog. We discussed lots of things, and it was stimulating because we were usually thousands of miles apart. Even today as I reread the letters, it is high intellectual adventure. If anyone thought Campbell’s Editorials were controversial, he would have considered the Campbell correspondence outrageous, because JWC often tried out Editorial ideas first in correspondence with friends and readers.

However, John’s single-page letter of August 21, 1959 --- highly unusual because his letters normally ran to a minimum of 4 or 5 pages, sometimes more, rarely less --- was to change my life and that of several other people beyond our wildest imaginings.

To quote the letter directly: ‘If you recall, some while back I said I believed we wouldn’t sue rockets to reach the planets… This week, I saw photographs of a working model of a space drive engine. It makes a monkey’s uncle out of the law of conservation of momentum as we know it. The working model demonstrated the principle but was, understandably, not very successful as a flying machine. The inventor couldn’t afford the auto-pilot system to stabilize it in mid-air… The device was powered by a standard 1/4 inch electric drill… a non-flying model resting on a tabletop, on ball-bearing wheels giving effectively zero friction, exerted a push of about 85 pounds --- also 1/4 inch drill-motor powered. Set on end on a standard weighing machine, it weighed 135 lb. With the motor activated, the weight dropped to 50 lb.

‘Engineering calculations --- made by an outside firm of professional consulting engineers --- show that a 3000 lb machine could rise with an acceleration of 37 ft/sec^2 --- 5 ft/sec^2 over G --- when driven by a 25-hp engine at 2800 rpm. With a 150 hp engine at about 4000 rpm, it would have a gross vertical acceleration of 2 G, net of 1 G.

‘The device is purely mechanical. It depends on an elegant application of principles of centrifugal force in orbiting masses when the center of orbits is changed in a precisely phased manner. The actual result is that momentum apparently appears at the expense of energy.

‘I am getting detailed information as rapidly as I can’.

Naturally, I was excited. My return letter asked all sorts of questions. But it became a secondary thing in my life because I had just lost my pioneer model rocket company. I was starting work as an engineer at Stanley Aviation Corporation in Denver, and we had a new baby on the way. Looking back on that letter today, I realized that I had since learned that John Campbell was an excellent editor, fantastic writer, outstanding scientific dilettante, and somewhat confused physicist when it came to the Dean Drive… which has confused a lot of physicists.

My work at Stanley was not totally unconnected with what later happened. We were developing the crew escape capsules for the supersonic B-58 Hustler bomber. As the escape capsules were blasted out of the plane, they were dynamically stabilized by yokes with fins that snapped up. This was necessary to keep the rotation rates and acceleration within the stiff USAF criteria for human factors established by Col. J. P. Stapp on his rocket sleds.

Well, that was the way it was supposed to work, but we couldn’t keep the damned yokes from breaking off.

All calculations by the stress group proved that the cables and booms were more than strong enough to absorb the expected loads. But when they were catapulted out of the rocket sled at Hurricane Mesa, Utah, the yokes left the capsules at the booms and cables snapped. When I ventured meekly to point out to the stress engineers that there might be additional forces involved because of the rapidity with which the loads were applied, the reaction was, ‘You mean to tell us that stress isn’t proportional to strain?’

I got more deeply involved when we decided to challenge the USAF human factors limits which were based on a maximum of 15 Gs with a rate of 1500 G/second rate of onset. It seemed to us that ordinary athletes exceeded those limits regularly. So we put accelerometers on the shoulder pads of two burly University of Colorado football linemen and recorded what happened when they tackled each other. The data revealed that they had sustained accelerations of over 45 Gs at rates of onset of 5000 G/sec. This was written up in Time magazine, and we got the USAF to relax their human factors specs so that we could build a capsule that would stay together.

But before the Stanley capsule was qualified, I went to an American Rocket Society meeting in Los Angeles and met an old friend, Dr William O Davis, retired Colonel in the USAF, former director of the AF Office of Scientific Research, and mentor of Project Farside. He had just taken a position as Director of Research for a small, obscure company on the east Coast named Huyck Corporation. He asked me to join him in New York City as his Assistant Director of Research. I did so, moving to Connecticut and commuting to NYC for the first time in July 1960.

In the meantime, John Campbell set the SF world on its ear again --- it was still recovering from Dianetics and psionics --- with an Editorial in the December 1959 issue of Astounding Science Fiction, as Analog was called then. In brief, he revealed to the readers what he had told me in his August 1959 letter.

The science-fact article in the June 1960 issue was written by Campbell with photographs that he had taken. It concerned this wonderful machine which he dubbed the Dean Drive.

The inventor of the device was Norman L Dean, a civil service employee residing in Washington DC. He had no formal training as an engineer or scientists; he was a typical amateur tinkerer and inventor. In common with most inventors, he didn’t know that it couldn’t be done, so he went ahead and tried.

Dean obtained US Patent # 2,886,976 on his device, but it will not tell you much about how to build a Dean Drive.

Basically, the Dean Drive consisted of a pair of eccentrically-mounted, counter-rotating masses driven by an electric motor through a pair of slipper-type universal joints and a slip or sleeve joint. The rotation of these masses produced an oscillating motion commonly known as simple harmonic motion. The use of rotating masses to produce oscillatory or vibrating motion is widely used in industrial practice and is commonly called a Buehler Drive. However, in the Dean Drive this oscillating carriage was not permitted to oscillate freely. At one point in its cycle, the oscillating frame was hard-coupled to the main frame of the machine or to the force rod coming out of the side of the frame. During the remainder of the cycle, the mechanical oscillator was free and unclutched.

The operation of the Dean Drive is very complex and is not amenable to quick-and-dirty analysis. It is a dynamic system.

Although Campbell’s article dwelt mainly on the fact that no government agency, especially NASA or DoD, had ever bothered to take a look at the Dean Drive, Campbell stated in his article: ‘I think Dean’s device is a true space drive; that it does work… Again, I emphasize, it is not important whether Dean is right or wrong; what is important is that the (government) agencies did not find out’. However, Campbell stated that he did believe that the Dean Drive was not a practical device, but a ‘proof of principle’ machine. He also stated that he really didn’t fully understand why the Dean Drive seemed to work and that he really didn’t believe Dean’s own mathematical analysis or operating theory. This is an important change in attitude on Campbell’s part between his August 1959 letter to me and the June 1960 ASF article. Perhaps the difference can be laid to the fact that in his letter he was writing privately to a fellow space nut while his article was written for ASF readers.

Because our responsibility in Corporation Research was to investigate for Huyck Corporation any promising area of science or technology that might lead to the development of new industrial products for the company, Dr Davis and I drove to Washington DC on September 27, 1960. On the morning of September 28, we drove to Dean’s apartment on Wisconsin Avenue.

I quote now from the laboratory notebook of Dr William Davis, dated September 30, 1960, and signed by me as a witness, indicating that it amounted to a joint report:

‘Visited Mr Norman Dean in Washington on September 28 at the suggestion of John Campbell to see the Dean Drive in action. The device he showed us did not levitate, but applied a lateral force to a mass. Harry Stine accompanied me, and both of us approached this unlikely device with skepticism. The mechanism was constructed of metal and Lucite in such a way that the moving parts were clearly visible. We checked for the usual gimmicks of air hoses and the like but found nothing. The model rested on the waxed floor of Dean’s apartment. Hidden magnets seemed unlikely and in any event could not account for the magnitude of the forces displayed, particularly since there appeared to be very little ferritic material in the device.

‘The drive was arranged so as to apply its output to a push-rod which was fastened to a reaction mass (also open) which appeared to weigh approximately three times as much as the drive unit. We inspected both the drive and the reaction mass before and after the demonstration and are convinced that both were free to move on the polished surface of the floor. There was no observable tilt to the floor. Both masses rested on flange type feet and no scratches were observed on the floor when either was slid.

‘When the drive was brought up to speed and the clutch mechanism activated, the drive was observed to produce a force such that the reaction mass was moved several millimeters in a gradual, steady manner while the drive unit did not move at all when observed closely with the naked eye from a distance of only a few inches.

‘A second experiment was performed where the reaction mass was replaced by each of our hands in turn. When the drive operated, a definite force was felt which increased with pressure and produced motion of the hand against the pressure. With the drive turned off, this same pressure easily moved the drive unit several inches’.

(Yes, the Dean Drive did push against my right hand as described. After all these years, I can still recall it vividly.)

‘It was the conclusion of both Harry Stine and myself that we had witnessed a real anomaly and that the possibility of fraud in the demonstration was slim. When this is combined with the testimony of other competent witnesses, some of whom have witnessed the weight reduction experiment, it seems increasingly likely that Dean has produced a genuine new phenomenon. His explanation, as given in his papers on the subject, does not strike me as valid, but whether or not his theory is correct we have seen something new which I do not believe can be accounted for with classical Newtonian analyses. For this reason, I have decided to undertake a theoretical study of dynamic systems to see if a concept can be evolved which will describe a world in which Dean’s Drive can exist and yet where other known facts are not contradicted’.

I have taken the liberty of quoting extensively from written notes made within a day or so of witnessing the phenomenon of the Dean Drive in operation because they more accurately express our joint observations of the time and do not exhibit the ravages of time on the memory. They serve to key other significant memories as well.

On the way back to Connecticut that night, I can still vividly recall Bill Davis blurting out, ‘I wonder if there is a force proportional to the rate of change of acceleration?’

His question led him right back to basic Newtonian mechanics where he added a fourth term, a third derivative, to the general equation of motion. By October 14, 1960, Davis had worked out the basic mathematical equation that he later published in his May 1962 Analog article, ‘The Fourth Law of Motion’.

His notebook entry for October 21, 1960 contains an important note:

‘One point suddenly occurs to me. One consequence of the foregoing analysis, if it later proves to be correct, is that the operation of the Dean Drive does not depend upon the rotating weights, but only on the motion of the axle, however induced. In other words, if a simple harmonic driving force is applied to a point with suitable cyclic parameters, then an unbalanced force should result. Obviously, this driving force might be applied by other mechanical means, or by means of magnetic and/or electric fields. Thus it becomes possible to design an entirely new kind of inertial drive which does not incorporate the principles of Dean’s machine as outlined in his patent claims!’

This was an important theoretical breakthrough because Davis had had no success at all in attempting to deal with Norman Dean. Most inventors want a million dollars and Dean was no exception to the rule. We could not get our hands on a Dean Drive with which to experiment. Nor could we legally attempt to construct one from the patent data, John Campbell’s excellent photos, and our own memories.

Although Davis had worked out a theoretical universe in which a machine like the Dean Drive would be possible, we both knew that mathematics will lead you only to the logical conclusions of your basic assumptions. The theory had to be backed up with experimental evidence, and we didn’t have the Dean Drive to work with. Bill Davis and I spent months searching for an elegant experiment that would either prove or disprove Davis mechanics --- Robert Heinlein hung that sobriquet on the work in Chapter 9 of Podkayne of Mars, so I guess it’s official. Professor Serge Korff of the physics department of NY University, a top cosmic ray researcher, and later president of the NY Academy of Science s and the Explorers Club, was retained as a consultant by Huyck Corporation at Bill Davis’ request to ‘keep us honest’ academically; as a top flight physicist, Professor Korff’s duty was to shoot us out of the saddle if the logic was faulty, the math bad, or the experimental program trivial. John Campbell was also retained as a consultant with the responsibility of assuming his classical role of a hair shirt; he kept us honest in a different way. We were soon joined by a young Iranian mathematician, E.L. Victory, a graduate of MIT who was working for Huyck at the company’s paper machine felt plant in Renssalaer, NY. Vic had just been given the problem of analyzing why the wringer-like press section of a paper machine wouldn’t squeeze water out of paper and the Huyck felts at high machine speeds. Vic had come to the tentative conclusion that the rate of onset of force between the press rolls didn’t give water time to get out of the paper or the felt, creating a situation akin to the tire hydroplaning that was later described by the British.

The basis of Davis mechanics rests on the hypothesis that the energy of a system cannot be changed in zero time. In other words, there is a ‘critical action time’ during which the system cannot behave in a Newtonian fashion and during which the system as a whole cannot accept the energy. In the case of an applied force in one dimension, Davis mechanics revives the classical Newtonian equation to the following form:

F = kx + V dx / dt
+ m d^2x / dt^2
+ Dm d^3x / dt^3

This is the basic Newtonian equation of motion with the exception of the third derivative term where k = Hook’s Law spring constant, V = viscous damping coefficient, m = mass, and D = the elusive critical action time.

Once a month, a meeting was held in the Huyck offices in New York City in which the theoretical and experimental programs were reviewed. Always in attendance were Bill Davis, Vic Victory, myself, Serge Korff, and John Campbell. Because the initials of ‘critical reaction time’ are CAT, we became the ‘CAT Pack’. These were wild meeting because Davis and Victory were making real progress on the theoretical mathematical background of Davis mechanics, and the work was making logical sense. One meeting really sticks in my mind; in late 1961, I sat astounded and watched Professor Korff derive Planck’s Constant and the quantum condition from Newtonian mechanics using the hypothesis of Davis mechanics.

But the experimental program didn’t run so well. In late 1960, I set up a small experimental area at the Huyck Equipment Company building, an old WW2 barracks located on Factory Lane in Milford CT. With the help of an excellent experimental machine shop downstairs and Wendell Stickney, Huyck’s very practical, brilliant development engineer, I built a series of devices capable of generating simple harmonic motion. We were looking for some indication of the CAT, the elusive D in the Davis equations.

Obviously, these devices were known as D-testers, or simply Detesters.

One by one, these experimental rigs were rejected because we could not account for all of the forces and therefore could not isolate D.

Finally, in May 1961, we decided to take a very close look at precisely the harmonic drive mechanism that was used in the Dean Drive. This is a device known as a Buehler Drive and it is commonly used throughout industry to generate vibration or oscillatory motion. It consists of two counter-rotating eccentric masses. I designed the device and had it built in the little machine shop. I still have the original drawings; I could build another one just like it today, and I might do it sometime. It was accurately described in a letter from E.L. Victory and me that appeared in the Brass Tacks department of the September 1963 Analog:

‘Mass of the rotating weights was 1607.3 grams, and the ration of the mass of the weights to the mass of the carriage was 0.9333. The test device was driven by a 1/4 inch electric drill motor, which was equipped with a 6-inch diameter 10-pound flywheel to insure constant rate of angular rotation, thence through a universal joint, a slip joint, and another universal joint. A protractor-type dial was affixed to the front of the device with a pointer the shaft of the upper mass to indicate angular position of the weights.  A cursor line and scale were used to determine position of the carriage in the lateral direction.  Operation was observed with the aid of a General Radio 'Strobotac', and photographs of the operating device were made. A Variac adjustable autotransformer was used to control the rotational speed of the motor."

What were we looking for?  In our meeting on September 28, 1960, Normal L. Dean claimed that the classical situation of a simple harmonic motion drive was incorrect.  Classically, when the masses are displaced to their maximum extent to the right, for example, the carriage will be at its maximum displacement to the left.  Thus the device operates with a 180-degree phase angle between weights and carriage.

Dean claimed that the motion of the carriage led the motion of the weights by 225 degrees, creating a "phase angle" of 45 degrees.

When simple harmonic motion is considered as the driving force in Davis mechanics, this phase angle does indeed appear . . . but not to the extent claimed by Dean.

With our oscillating device, we were looking for a phase angle.  Hence the device was called the "Phaser Mark I", with due apologies to Gene Roddenberry because we were first.

Phaser Mark I Mod 0 was driven with a light 1/4-inch drill rod shaft, two light-duty Boston Gear universal joints which are also called "slipper joints", and a light-duty sleeve-type slip joint.  I ran the device from 150 rpm to 1,500 rpm.  I looked hard for a phase angle, so did Davis, Victory, Korff, and Campbell.  We never saw the phase angle claimed by Dean using similar equipment.  What I did succeed in doing was to tear hell out of those 1/4-inch slipper joints to the point where there was at least 15 degrees of slop in them, a disparity that would have rendered any observed phase angle meaningless.

So I created Phaser Mark I Mod 1 with a beefed-up drive train using 1/2-inch slipper joints, half-inch drill rod shaft, and really beefy sleeve joint.

At 1,500 rpm, just at the point where the Phaser was about to ear itself to pieces and scatter parts all over the room, I saw a three-degree phase angle.

Although this wasn't the magnitude of phase angle reported by Norman Dean, it cast serious doubt on classical theory which says that there should be no phase angle whatsoever!

I saw the three-degree phase angle several times.  So did Bill Davis and E.L. Victory.  To eliminate any source of error. I measured the total slack in the entire drive train; it was less than a half-degree.

To prove that this phase angle, which was real, was not a cconsequence of the rotating masses, I re-designed the Phaser to Mark II configuration.  This used an oscillating mass, a single weight that vibrated horizontally back and forth driven by a small eccentric.  The magnitude of its displacement was the same as that of the counter-rotating masses, and I maintained the same oscillatory mass and the same mass ratio as in Phaser Mark I.

With the oscillating weight of the Phaser Mark II vibrating back and forth at 1,500 cycles, the operation was a lot smoother, and I saw the good old three-degree phase angle just as before.  It was highly repeatable.  It was witnessed by Davis, Victory, and others.

The motion of the carriage led the motion of the driving force of the oscillating mass(es).

Looking back on this series of experiments with the Phasers, I now realize that it was probably the elegant experimental proof we were searching for. Victory's calculations said that our Phasers had a critical action time of a half millisecond.  We should have built one with twice the dimensions to see if it had a CAT of a full millisecond, or at least a larger critical action time.  If we had been able to predict the CAT, we would have had proof.

I believe our big problem was the fact that we had gained a large measure of respect--nay, downright fear--of the Phasers.  The sight of that seven-pound Phaser shaking back and forth on a lab bench at 1,500 cycles was more than impressive.  It shook the whole building when it went into resonance with the structure.  And it kept trying to tear itself to pieces.  I kept beefing it up.  I can guarantee that when I got through with that drive train, it was strong.  Although we should have taken the "American" approach of making it bigger, we abandoned the Phaser experiments.  We figured that it would be easier to make measurements on a linear system instead.

So I designed a rocket-powered ballistic pendulum.

It consisted of two five-pound cylindrical masses separated by a 36-inch length of hardened 1/4-inch drill rod.  The device was hung as a ballistic pendulum, initially eight feet long.  On the rear mass, I mounted an Estes Type B14 solid propellant rocket motor that would produce a peak thrust of nine pounds 150 milliseconds after ignition and had a duration of 300 milliseconds.  The mass of the rocket propellant used was less than one percent of the total mass of the pendulum.  A Dynisco bonded strain gage load cell was mounted on the rear mass to measure the intantaneous throust of the rocket motor on the pendulum.  This was read out on a high-speed Visicorder light-0beam oscillograph.  A light trough was placed below the pendulum with a 300-watt spot light at one end of the trough.  In each  pendulum bob, a cadmium sulfide photocell looked straight down into the light trough, detecting the light gradient as the pendulum swung. The outputs of both photocells were fed into separate channels in the Visicorder. We calibrated this and discovered that it was a very sensitive pendulum position indicator.

When the rocket motor was electrically ignited, it pushed the pendulum horizontally. The thrust-time curve of the rocket motor was recorded along with the photocell output that was proportional to the pendulum position.

Theoretical calculations predicted that there should be a time delay between the instant that thrust was applied to the pendulum and the instant it started to move. Davis mechanics also predicted that there would be a discrepancy between how far the pendulum swung --- based on the total impulse imparted to it by the rocket motor --- in reality and how far it should have swung according to classical mechanics.

We chased bugs in that rocket pendulum for over two years. First, we moved it to a new lab at Stamford, CT, where it was re-hung from 16-foot lines. When we moved the lab again in Stamford, we again re-hung it as a 16-foot ballistic pendulum and developed an even more accurate capacitance position measurement system for it.

In all the hundreds of tests with the pendulum, we never detected what we were looking for. I know now that it was because the system was too small and that the rate-of-change of force imparted by the rocket motor was too low. We should have hit it with a 16-pound sledge instead. We didn’t because I hit it with a one-pound hammer once, and broke a $150 load cell. In March 1965 when we finally made highly accurate position measurements with the capacitive position system, we learned that the pendulum vibrated in four degrees of freedom when the rocket thrust hit it. We had no way of accounting for all the energy that was leaving the system by means other than linear displacement. So the experiment was abandoned.

However, the rocket pendulum did put us wise at last to the critical test for all One-Way machines, Space Drive, Anti-gravity Devices, and their like. When the word got out that Huyck Research Center would listen to inventors and look at their machines, the fun began. I think that I have seen every sort of shaking, spinning, whirling, vibrating, buzzing, snarling, grinding space drive that the fertile imagination of inventors can dream up. I have seen ones that would climb a slight gradient because of the stick-slip frictional phenomenon. I’ve seen them scoot across the floor. I have seen them do all sorts of wonderful things except when we put them to the critical pendulum test.

For the benefit of any of you who may some day be confronted with a unidirectional drive, here is the Critical pendulum Test:

Suspend the unit freely as a ballistic pendulum shown in the drawing. The longer the pendulum, the more sensitive it will be to any unidirectional force. When the drive is turned on, it must displace itself from the vertical rest position. Furthermore, it must not vibrate back and forth about the rest position. It must displace its center of mass from the vertical and stay there as long as it is turned on.

Every space drive that we tested would not pass this test. The inventors were usually very embarrassed. ‘Gee, it just started to work there when it came apart. I guess we’re lucky that nobody was hurt when it blew up’. They all left, promising to fix the invention and return with it. Nobody ever did.

There is one highly unfortunate aspect to this. Because of the total recalcitrance of Norman Dean, we were never able to subject the Dean Drive itself to the critical pendulum test at Huyck Research Center.

It was once claimed that the Dean Drive did pass this test. John Campbell made a comment to a letter in bras Tacks in the November 1960 ASF as follows: ‘Suspended from a flexible wire, the model will push itself away from the vertical and hang at an angle’. But I never saw it do that. I am very positive that Campbell never saw it, either, and that he was merely reporting what Norman Dean told him. Otherwise, Campbell would have made some very pertinent remarks during the many pendulum tests we ran not only with the rocket pendulum, but also with several One-Way Machines.

While I was involved in this frenzied, exciting, frustrating, enjoyable, disgusting, delightful and maddening experimental program, the CAT Pack wrote a scientific paper. Entitled ‘Some Aspects of Certain Transient Mechanical Systems’, Davis delivered it on April 23, 1962, at the Washington DC meeting of the American Physical Society. There were no comments. Why didn’t anybody hear this paper? Why wasn’t it published? I don’t know, but the APS and Physical Review turned it down for publication. I was given to understand that it was nearly impossible to get anything published that contradicted Einstein in the slightest degree, even in philosophical background.

Then as now, there were few avenues for published speculation in science and technology. Analog happens to be one of the few places where a person can toss a new idea to the wolves to see what happens. We knew this, so Davis wrote ‘The Fourth aw of Motion’ that was published in the may 1962 issue of Analog. Strangely, the article didn’t draw the sort of comment that we had expected; perhaps it was because it contained a couple of partial differential equations.

However, the 1962 publication efforts did finally bring us into contact with an independent investigator.

On July 1, 1963, Hermann von Schelling at the Advanced Technology Laboratories of the General Electric Company in Schenectady, NY, published a paper entitled, ‘Stochastic Approach to the Laws of motion’. He arrived at the same conclusions as the CAT Pack, but he did it by the statistical or stochastic method rather than by the Davis deterministic method. Von Schelling even went further to postulate a quantum of time, a time interval during which even the smallest subnuclear particle could not respond to a change in its energy. By von Schelling’s method, this time quantum was calculated as 6.27 x 10^-24 seconds. When calculated by Davis mechanics, the same number came out. Furthermore, this led to the conclusion that the smallest unit of length in the universe was the distance that light could travel in that smallest unit of time, and worked out to 1.88 x 10^13 centimeters.

This number agrees with the estimate made in 1955-56 by Werner Heisenberg.

In late 1962, the CAT pack was joined by a most formidable international scientist, Dr Henri Coanda, inventor of the first jet airplane (1910) and father of the field of fluidics (the Coanda Effect). Using Davis mechanics, Coanda developed a rationale for both Reynolds Number and Mach Number.

In May 1963, Campbell published a letter from Norman Dean wherein the inventor explained in details his ‘phasing’ hypothesis and gave explicit instructions on how to build and conduct an experiment so that his data could be confirmed by anyone who wished to try it. The Dean experimental device described in that Brass Tacks letter was identical to the Phaser mark I. So, just to be on the safe side, I dug out the Phaser Mark I and had out two best lab technicians read Dean’s letter, set up the Phaser, and re-run the previous Phaser Tests. Both C. Philip Morse and Maclane Tilton, our chief economic tech and chief mechanical tech respectively, conducted these tests without any supervision from Davis, Victory, or myself. I stood by in the background and just watched. Dean claimed they could see a 45-degree phase angle. They saw the 3-degree phase angle that I had seen.

E.L. Victory and I reported this in a letter to Brass Tacks that appeared in the September 1963 issue along with a photo of our Phaser Mark I. Norman Dean must have considered this as a personal attack on him, because he fired back a vitriolic letter to Campbell that was published in the January 1964 Analog. Dean accused us of all sots of things, including violation of his patent rights. This immediately brought in the Huyck general counsel and patent attorneys. I really wanted to go see Dean and get it straightened out. But, acting on the advice of the Huyck attorneys, Davis instructed me not to do so.

Since that time, I have carefully studied all of the Dean materials that have been published. What did Dean do to get his claimed 45-degree phase angle, and why couldn’t we get it, too? Was he using a heavy carriage with centering springs? Was his light quarter-inch drive shaft twisting? We had both used common universal joints, otherwise known as slipper joints, that are known to possess lobes of unequal torque and rate of angular rotation when deflected; did this have a significant effect? I wanted to build Phaser Mark III with constant-torque Rezeppa Joints, the sort they use in the front-wheel drive of Jeeps. Was my flywheel smoothing out something (Dean did not use a flywheel)?

We really don’t know, but I strongly suspect that Dean’s light-duty drive train had something to do with it.

We did a lot of theorizing about what a true space drive might be like and came to some interesting conclusions. First of all, if Davis mechanics has a shred of truth to it, the phase angle of Dean’s device should have been dependent upon the rotational speed or cyclic rate, but the drive efficiency should increase as well. This meant that really good efficiencies could not be obtained with any device operating down in mechanical cyclic rates. It meant that a drive should be operated at megacycle or gigacycle rates.

We further came to the conclusion that the Dean Drive --- or any machine capable of producing a unidirectional force under the hypothesis of Davis mechanics --- would have to consist of a device that was one system during part of a cycle, and another system during the rest of the cycle. Or a device in which the initial system was deliberately destroyed during one part of the cycle and reassembled during the rest of the cycle.

There is only one thing that will really do this at megacycle rates and above: electromagnetic devices, gadgets based on plasmas and electromagnetic fields.

We thought about how to do this and how to build it. By April 1965, we were just about ready to start putting some experimental hardware together.

Then the nation’s economy stumbled a little bit. An economy wave rolled over Huyck Corporation. And in any corporate economy drive, two things get cut back right away: advertising and research. When we came in the door of the lab on Monday, April 2, 1965, Bill Davis informed us that the research budget was no more, that the lab was closed, and all equipment was to be disposed of at once. All of us were given severance pay, letters of commendation, and the usual regrets.

Thus ended the only serious research program that I know of that was devoted to an analysis of the Dean Drive and an attempt to construct a theoretical foundation for such devices.

And it is a totally unsatisfactory ending because nothing --- nothing --- has been resolved. The work raised all sorts of questions. It brought together a lot of hitherto inexplicable facts and gave them some sort of rational foundation. It tied everything up in a neat bundle and just left it sitting there.

Item: The human body responds to rate-of-onset of acceleration, a third derivative force. USAF specs are still based on this.

Item: Stress is not proportional to strain. The classic law holds only under steady-state conditions in testing machines. Under conditions of high-rate loading, the stress-strain curves behave quite differently. Cables snap. Yokes break. The noses of armor-piercing shells hammer their way through armor while the back end of the same shells proceeds inexorably forward, not knowing that the front end is hammering away.

Item: The mundane industrial operation of squeezing water out of paper and felt is totally dependent upon the rate of onset of the force in the press roll nip; the application of the principles of Davis mechanics to paper mechanics permits the system to be changed so that the machine can run faster.

Item: Newton didn’t have the instruments to measure high-rate phenomena. Newtonian mechanics is steady-state mechanics. Even at that, any engineer will tell you all about the Finagle Factors…

Item: Newtonian mechanics is true only if the energy of a system can be changed in either zero time (which is not a reasonable assumption) or in a time interval long enough for the entire system to react as a whole. Davis mechanics would merely elaborate upon Newtonian mechanics to include the starting transient, the high-rate case, the situation in which the system is so great that part of the system does something while the other is doing quite something else.

Item: The harder they hit the atomic nucleus with particles in high-energy accelerators, the greater the rate of change of energy… and the greater the number of wild, wonderful, and unsuspected particles that are generated. It is really difficult to account for all of these new particles… except in Davis mechanics where they would be viewed as a consequence of rate-of-change: the energy that the particle system cannot absorb and must then leave the system.

Item: With several very, very intelligent and respected scientists involved in the program, we never once ran up against  a flaw in the logic, a trivial consequence, an irrational conclusion, or any result that did not appear to jibe with the real world.

Item: Nobody has yet designed and conducted the elegant experiment to either prove or disprove the hypotheses of Davis mechanics.

Item: Nobody has ever conducted a series of critical, objective tests on the Dean Drive. The Dean Drive has never been subjected to the pendulum test described herein except as reported by John Campbell and never verified.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is unfinished business here that gets worse every day. Norman Dean passed away in the late 1960s. John Campbell died on July 11, 1971. Dr Henri Coanda died in November 25, 1972. And Dr William O Davis died on may 10, 1974. Korff, Victory, and myself appear to be the only ones left who participated in this most exciting work.

I saw the Dean Drive work, and I think I know how and why it worked. I don’t know if it would pass the pendulum test, but the test must be made before anyone has the right to sit back and be smug --- on either side of the fence.

Until the basic hypotheses of Davis mechanics are either proven or disproven, the nagging specter of the space drive will haunt our scientific community. Will it or won’t it? Is a space drive possible or not?

If it is impossible, what pushed against my hand?

If it is impossible, what was the 3-degree phase angle that I saw with the phaser Mark I and mark II?

I am not talking about Dianetics, Psionics, or ESP. This is physics and engineering and technology. It would take so little time and so little money to find out whether we have nothing… or…

There is an unpublished series of papers written by Davis and the rest of the CAT Pack. They hypothesize a theory of inertia and gravitation that embrace both Newton and Einstein. Based on very preliminary calculations, the theory based on Davis mechanics indicates that the speed of gravitational propagation is at least 30,000 times the speed of light.

The end of this article remains to be written.


1 --- Norman L. Dean: US Patent # 2,886,976, System for Converting Rotary Motion into Unidirectional Motion.

2 --- J.W. Campbell: Private communication to G.H. Stine, August 21, 1959.

3 --- John W. Campbell: ‘The Ultrafeeble Reactions’, Astounding Science Fiction, 64(4): 6, et seq., December 1958.

4 --- J.W. Campbell: ‘The Space Drive Problem’, Analog 65(4): 83-106, June 1960.

5 --- J.W. Campbell: ‘Report on the Dean Drive’, Analog 66(1) :4-7, September 1960.

6 --- J.W. Campbell: ‘Instrumentation for the Dean Device’, Analog 66(3): 95-99, November 1960.

7 --- William O. Davis: ‘The Fourth Law of Motion’, Analog 69(3): 83-104, May 1962.

8 --- W.O. Davis: W.O. Davis, et al.: ‘Some Aspects of Certain Transient Mechanical Systems’, Amer. Physical Soc. Paper FA10, 1962 Spring Meeting, Washington DC, April 23, 1962.

9 --- H. v. Schelling: ‘Stochastic Approach to the Laws of Motion’, General Electric Company Report No. 63GL106, Advanced technology Laboratories, July 1, 1963.

10 --- N.L. Dean: Letter, Analog 71(3):4, et seq., May 1963.

11 --- G.H. Stine, E.L. Victory: Letter, Analog 72(1): 4, et seq., September 1963.

12 --- N.L. Dean: Letter, Analog 72(5):92, et seq., January 1964.

13 --- W.O. Davis: Private laboratory notebook from September 30, 1960 to July 7, 1961.

14 --- W.O. Davis: ‘The Huyck Dynamic Systems Research Program: Theoretical Background, Experimental Work, and Some Implications’; unpublished Huyck Corporation report, circa 1961.

15 --- W.O. Davis: ‘Some Unusual Implications Inherent in the Huyck Dynamic Systems Research Program’; unpublished Huyck Corporation report, circa 1961.

16 --- W.O. Davis: ‘The Energy Transfer Delay Time’; Annals of the NY Acad. of Sciences 138: 862-3, Article 2, February 6, 1967.

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