John E.W. KEELY
KEELY, John E.W. : Motor ~ Clara Bloomfield-Moore :
1893 )[ PDF,
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John Ernst Worrell Keely
John Ernst Worrell Keely (September 3, 1837 – November 18, 1898)
was an American inventor from Philadelphia who claimed to have
discovered a new motive power which was originally described as
"vaporic" or "etheric" force, and later as an unnamed force based
on "vibratory sympathy", by which he produced "interatomic ether"
from water and air. Despite numerous requests from the
stockholders of the Keely Motor Company, which had been
established to produce a practicable motor based on his work, he
consistently refused to reveal to them the principles on which his
motor operated, and also repeatedly refused demands to produce a
marketable product by claiming that he needed to perform more
He secured substantial investments from many people, among whom
was John Jacob Astor IV.
Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, John Keely was orphaned in early
childhood and was raised by his grandparents. Before becoming an
inventor, he worked as a member of a theatrical orchestra, a
painter, a carpenter, a carnival barker, and as a mechanic.
In 1872, Keely invited scientists to attend a demonstration at his
laboratory at 1422 North Twentieth Street Philadelphia, of a
machine which he asserted was motivated by a new and hitherto
unknown force. Keely announced that he had discovered a principle
for power production based on the musical vibrations of tuning
forks and that music could resonate with atoms or with the aether.
Public interest was aroused and within a few months the Keely
Motor Company was formed in New York, with a capital of
$5,000,000., equivalent to $95 million in 2013.
Keely delivered descriptions of the supposed principles of his
process on various occasions.
In 1884, following the demonstration of his "Vaporic gun":
Stripping the process of all technical terms, it is simply this: I
take water and air, two mediums of different specific gravity, and
produces from them by generation an effect under vibrations that
liberates from the air and water an inter atomic ether. The energy
of this ether is boundless and can hardly be comprehended. The
specific gravity of the ether is about four times lighter than
that of hydrogen gas, the lightest gas so far discovered. — New
York Times, 22 September 1884
Following a demonstration in June 1885:
It is an elaboration of interatomic ether by vibration. The atomic
ether vibrates all around the molecules of matter. There is a
magnetic force attached to it at the same time, and it assimilates
with the molecular atomic aggregations - that is, assimilates with
a certain attractive force that it is hard to tell what it is. I
call it a vibratory negative. It don't act like a magnet drawing
metals toward it. There is a certain magnetic effect about it that
causes it to adhere by vibratory rotation to different forms of
matter - that is the molecular, atomic, etheric, and
ether-etheric. The impulse is given by metallic impulses, the
rotary power that is formed by etheric vibration - that is the
force that holds it in position. — New York Times, 7 June 1885
In the 19th century most physicists believed that all of space was
filled with a medium called the "Luminiferous aether" (or
"ether"), a hypothetical substance which was thought necessary for
the transmission of electromagnetic waves and to the propagation
of light, which was believed to be impossible in "empty" space. In
1887, an experiment was performed by Albert A. Michelson and
Edward W. Morley to attempt to confirm the existence of the ether.
The experiment, named the Michelson-Morley experiment after the
two scientists, shocked the scientific community by giving results
which implied the ether's non-existence. This result was later
used by Albert Einstein to refute the ether's existence, and to
develop special relativity.
On November 10, 1874, Keely gave a demonstration of an "etheric
generator" to a small group of people in Philadelphia. Keely blew
into a nozzle for half a minute, then poured five gallons of tap
water into the same nozzle. After some adjustments a pressure
gauge indicated pressures of 10,000 psi which Keely said was
evidence that the water had been disintegrated and a mysterious
vapor had been liberated in the generator, capable of powering
machinery. In subsequent demonstrations he kept changing the
terminology he used, to "vibratory-generator" to a
"hydro-pneumatic-pulsating-vacu-engine" to "quadruple negative
harmonics". It was later reported that the witnesses of the
demonstration were so impressed that they formed a stock company,
purchased patent rights for the six New England states, and paid
$50,000 in cash for their share in the invention.
The New York Times reported in June 1875 that Keely's new motive
power was generated from cold water and air and evolved into a
vapor "more powerful than steam, and considerably more
economical". It reported that Keely refused to disclose what the
vapor was or how it was generated until he had taken out patents
in "all the countries of the globe which issue patent rights"
which was estimated would cost around $30,000.
Keely said that the discovery of this new energy source was
accidental. He said that the apparatus by which it was generated
was called a "generator" or "multiplicator", from where it was
then passed into a "receiver" and from there to the cylinders of a
steam engine. The "generator" was reported as being about 3 ft
(0.91 m), made of Austrian gunmetal in one piece, and holding
about 10 or 12 gallons of water. Its inside was made up of
cylindrical chambers connected by pipes and fitted with stopcocks
and valves. The "receiver" or "reservoir" was about 40 in (1,000
mm) long by 6 in (150 mm) in diameter and connected to the
"generator" by a 1 in (25 mm) diameter pipe. Keely claimed that
his apparatus would generate his "vapor" from water solely by
mechanical means without using any chemicals and claimed to be
able to produce 2,000 psi in 5 seconds.
Clara Jessup Bloomfield Moore
In 1881, Keely met Clara Jessup Bloomfield Moore, the wealthy
widow of a Philadelphia industrialist who had the year before
established the Bloomfield Moore art collection. Mrs Moore became
acquainted with Keely through her interest in scientific subjects,
and remained his friend and patron up to the time of his death.
She invested $100,000 plus a monthly salary of $250 (around $2.2
million and $5400/month in today's values ) so that he could
devote his entire time and energy to the perfection of his motor
and widely advocated him and his work, producing many articles and
Her family did not approve of her assuming obligations which they
believed the company should fulfill under its contract with Keely.
She made an arrangement with Keely on 12 April 1890 to furnish him
with an additional $2,000 a month for his household and shop
expenses and for instruments of research, which was to expire when
he had gained sufficient control of his unknown force to enable
him to resume his work under the direction of the management of
the company upon a provisional engine. This arrived in December
1890, when Mrs Bloomfield Moore handed over to the Directors bills
that had been presented since the expiration of Mr. Keely's
contract with her.
On 14 December 1881 the stockholders of the Keely Motor Company
held a meeting at which a report was read that complained that
while they had faith in the merits of Keely's invention, the
inventor was unreasonably secretive of the principles and
operating methods of his apparatus. He had assured them that the
"generator" had been perfected a year before, and that the
"multiplicator" was also now perfected, and they considered it
only fair and reasonable that the secrets of the machinery be
revealed to them. They recommended that some intelligent and
trustworthy person be taken into Keely's confidence "so that in
the case of accident they would not be totally without a clue to
the invention". The report complained at some length about Keely's
uncommunicativeness and said that it was the experience of
everyone who had come into contact with him over the previous ten
years that "any attempt at a serious investigation of his
operations has been met on his part with deception and
Keely was reluctant to reveal his secrets, and filed a demurrer on
20 January 1882 to the bill in equity presented against him by the
Keely Motor Company's stockholders. The demurrer was described as
entirely technical, and gave a number of reasons why the court
should not afford the plaintiffs the relief they sought.
Argument was heard on the demurrer in Philadelphia's Court of
Common Pleas on 27 March, when it was argued that the inventor
"could not be made to expose that which no one knew but himself
and which was hidden in his own brain". However, Keely was
overruled by Judge Pierce on 1 April 1882, who ordered him to
"make known his process in the way indicated in the bill filed by
the Keely Motor Company".
On 24 May Keely filed his answer to the stockholders' equity suit.
He admitted the truth of the complainants' bill regarding the
contract, and added that although, due to "certain abstruse
difficulties by reason of the nature and qualities of the said
force", he had so far failed to bring his inventions into
practical use, he believed he would ultimately succeed.
In June 1882 a committee appointed by the Company's board of
directors agreed that one William Boekel of Philadelphia was to be
"instructed by Mr. Keely in the construction and operation of his
The annual meeting of the Company's stockholders on 13 December
1882 heard a report from Boekel in which he stated that what Keely
claimed to have discovered was "the fact that water in its natural
state is capable of being, by vibratory motion, disintegrated so
that its molecular structure is broken up, and there is evolved
therefrom a permanent expansive gas or ether, which result is
produced by mechanical action". Boekel said that it would be
improper to describe the mechanism used, and added that Keely had
discovered all that he had claimed. It was later discovered by
a Times reporter in August that Boekle had not yet been entrusted
with the secrets of the motor as promised by Keely, and that the
inventor kept delaying matters by telling Boekle that he could
explain it to him in less than two hours after it was completed,
and that he had not done so already because the engine had not yet
reached that state.
On 28 August 1883, at the monthly meeting of the Company's
directors, it was announced that Keely's engine would be ready for
operation around the first week in September, and that a final
inspection of it by the Trustees would be conducted on 29 August,
at which the stockholders were expected to be present. When the
inspection was made the following day, however, Keely said that it
would not be ready for another six weeks.
On 29 October 1883 it was reported that the Company's stockholders
were to bring another suit against the inventor in the name of the
company for "fulfilment of his many pledges". At a meeting of
the Board of Directors the following day, Keely made a statement
explaining his progress, saying that he was constructing a street
chamber to hold his vapor and that when this was complete a
demonstration would be given, and his explanation was voted "very
satisfactory" by the directors.
At the annual stockholders' meeting on 12 December 1883 a letter
from Keely was read out, in which the inventor said that he could
not see why he might not fulfil the shareholders' expectations in
the next two months and suggested that the stockholders' meeting
be postponed to 1 February 1884. This proposal met with some
disagreement from some stockholders, and it was decided to give
Keely no funds for the next 60 days. When the promised
stockholders' meeting was held on 1 February 1884, another
postponement was announced at Keely's request. A board meeting
which took place on 25 March 1884 reported that the vibratory
engine was finished, that "the work of adjusting and focalizing is
progressing rapidly", and that Keely had set the date for the
demonstration of the motor to take place on or before 10
On 20 September 1884 Keely demonstrated a "vaporic gun" at Sandy
Hook to a party of Government officials. He said that he had
brought with him five gallons of "vaporic force" in a "receiver"
which, if the experiments were successful, would show that no
bogus aids had been used. The gun was described as a small gun
with a 1.25 in (32 mm) bore, resting on wheels, with an iron
"receiver" 4.5 ft (1.4 m) long containing Keely's mysterious force
connected to it by "an iron wire tube" 3/16" (5 mm) in diameter.
Keely rammed a small lead ball about 5 oz (140 g) in weight into
the gun's muzzle, then tapped the iron "receiver" with a hammer.
He explained that this was to stimulate the "vibratory force". He
then turned a handle and the ball was fired from the gun with a
short, sharp report but no smoke and very little recoil. It was
reported that the projectile had been fired a distance of 300 yd
(270 m). More shots were fired and their velocity measured; one
attained 482 ft/s (147 m/s), another 492 ft/s (150 m/s), and yet
another 523 ft/s (159 m/s). The gun was also tested by firing
against three 3 in (76 mm) thick spruce planks and penetrated the
first and went halfway through the second. Keely said that he had
used a pressure of 7,000 psi and could use 30,000 psi.
The following day Keely met with a reporter to whom he declared
that his experimenting days were over and that complete success
was close. He announced that his motor would be completed in less
than two months and that he would then make a public exhibition of
The vaporic gun failed to impress Lieutenant E.L. Zalinski, who
had witnessed the demonstration. He told the President of the
Keely Motor Company, A.R. Edey, that with the same apparatus he
could perform the same experiments with compressed air, and go
even further than Keely had gone. Edey said he would "speak about
it to Mr. Keely," but offer was not accepted. Zalinski said that
none of the experiments at Sandy Hook showed that Keely had
discovered a new force.
Zalinski later attended a demonstration at Keely's workshop in
November, in place of Colonel John Hamilton. He later reported
that he suggested to Keely that it would be a more complete test
of his power if he would discharge a large reservoir which he
showed his guests, and then recharge it using his generator. Keely
declined to do this, on the grounds that it would take two hours -
despite his many statements that he could generate force in a few
seconds - and that the reservoir had been "carefully negatized".
Keely also claimed to have achieved pressures of 50,000 psi, and
that he had broken all his pressure gauges. When Zalinski produced
a pressure gauge he had brought with him - capable of registering
10,000 psi - and offered it to Keely, saying "I would like to have
you put it on, and break it for me", Keely was momentarily lost
for words before saying, "I do not believe in pressure gauges,
June 1885 demonstration
On 6 June 1885 Keely gave what he called "an exhibition" of his
motor at his workshop at North Twentieth Street, Philadelphia.
Around 20 witnesses attended, including newspaper reporters, a
mechanical engineer, and officers and stockholders of the Keely
Motor Company. A reporter noticed a "large iron globular object"
which he was told was a new engine which Keely was engaged in
Keely assembled an apparatus on top of which was screwed a globe
with several apertures to which tubes were fixed, leading to
cylinders. A reporter asked if he could see the globe's contents,
but Keely declined, saying that it would take too long, and that
he wished to show results rather than the mechanism. Keely then
proceeded by taking a violin bow and rubbing it across one of two
large tuning forks which formed part of his apparatus. After
making a minor adjustment to the device, he opened a stopcock
leading into one of the cylinders and the witnesses heard "a hiss
as of escaping air". Keely told them that it was in fact "etheric
vapor", adding "It ain't compressed air or any vapor having
substance." The force was then used to lift some weights, and
Keely claimed that he had about 22,000 psi of pressure at his
A further demonstration was given, of a rotating iron globe
suspended on an axle, which was used to saw some wood. The globe
was not opened, Keely saying that it was hollow and empty, and his
assistants saying that it contained "some bits of mechanism". A
sceptical reporter, who believed that it was in fact operating on
compressed air, asked how long the engine could work. Keely
replied that he had one run for 40 days, whereupon the reporter
suggested he simply run it for half an hour, just making the globe
rotate. Keely duly set the globe rotating, and it ran for less
than 15 minutes, constantly decreasing in power, before he stopped
On 26 March 1886 Keely performed a demonstration before a
committee of scientists and engineers from New York, where he
obtained a pressure of 2,700 psi apparently by using a single pint
of water, and then doubled the pressure by adding more water.
Keely claimed that the "etheric force" by which these results were
obtained would be utilized as fully as possible in the 25,000 hp
engine on which he was then working.
The stockholders of the Keely Motor Company met on 14 December
1887, and expressed their confidence in Keely's ultimate success.
Keely did not attend the meeting, but supplied a report in which
he reviewed his efforts and experiments since 1882 and announced
that he had abandoned "etheric force" in favour of a new force
which was unnamed but which he said was based on "vibratory
On 3 January 1888 an injunction was granted against Keely on
behalf of complainant Bennett C. Wilson, who said that in 1863 he
had entered into an agreement with Keely, whom he had originally
engaged to varnish furniture. The agreement was that Wilson was to
find tools and materials and pay the expenses of inventions made
by Keely, Keely agreeing that all inventions so made, and patents
obtained, should be equally owned by him and Wilson. On 14 August
1869 Keely assigned a half ownership in what was referred to as
the "Keely motor" to Wilson, who claimed that Keely had then
assigned all rights and title to the invention later that same
month in return for funds.
Wilson alleged that he had only recently become aware that the
machine called the "Keely motor" was the same as the one
constructed in 1869 and assigned to him. He asked for an
injunction restraining Keely from removing the machine or altering
its construction or mode of operation, and requested that an order
also be made compelling Keely to exhibit to the complainant all
models, machines, and drawings of the invention referred to in the
assignments to Wilson, and that an order be made compelling Keely
to fully disclose the invention and the mode of constructing and
On 7 April a formal order was made directing Bennett Wilson, his
attorney, and four experts, to make a full and detailed inspection
of the Keely motor, its mode of construction, and principle of
operation within 30 days. The four experts were named as Dr.
Charles M. Cresson, Analytical Chemist of City and State Boards of
Health; Thomas Shaw, mechanical engineer; William D. Marks, civil
engineer and Professor of Dynamical Engineering at the University
of Pennsylvania; and Jacob Naylor, iron founder and President of
the Eighth National Bank. The result of the inspection was to make
known only whether the present Keely motor was or was not the same
apparatus that he was alleged to have assigned to Wilson in
On 18 September it was revealed that Keely had not yet obeyed the
court order, despite the time span having been increased to 60
days, and a lawyer representing Bennett Wilson said he believed
Keely never would comply with the order and that he had never
intended to do so. Finally, on 17 November 1888, Keely was
jailed in Moyamensing Prison for contempt of court for refusing
the court order to "operate and explain the mode of operation" of
the Keely Motor. However, he was soon released on bail on 20
November by three judges of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Finally, on 28 January 1889, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
handed down an opinion reversing the order committing Keely to
prison for contempt, and ordered his discharge. The opinion
declared that the order commanding Keely to "exhibit, explain, and
operate his motor" was premature, and that the court had no right
to enforce the order by committing Keely to jail for contempt.
On March 28, 1889 Keely's counsel announced that the inventor had
the "missing link" which was needed to make the "vibratory
resonator and ethereal generative evaporator" a success. It was
described as a copper tube in the form of a loop, with the ends
welded together so that no joint could be seen, and had been made
in copper due to that metal's "resonant properties". A private
demonstration of Keely's motor was promised as soon as the tube
was "adjusted", and was stated as likely to occur "in a week or
At the Keely Motor Company's stockholders' meeting in December, a
report was read from Keely in which he discussed the difficulties
he had had with the Board of Directors during 1889 and said that
while the work of "graduating" or adjusting his provisional engine
had not progressed as rapidly as he had expected, no serious
obstacles had presented themselves, and there were no difficulties
affecting the principle or "essence" of his work. While he could
not give a timescale for when the graduation of the engine would
be completed, Keely said that it would not be a protracted period,
and that when it was finished, one or more engines would at once
In June 1895 the trade journal Electricity published a challenge
to Keely, in which they said that they would undertake to repeat
every phenomenon produced by Keely within 60 days. Keely ignored
After an absence of several years in England, Mrs Moore returned
to the US to deal with litigation concerning her late husband's
estate. Her advocacy of Keely and his inventions formed part of
the case and she decided to strengthen her position by getting
eminent physicists to examine his inventions. Among those invited
were Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, both of whom declined the
opportunity for various reasons.
Keely again informed the directors of his company in early
November 1895 that "before the end of the year" he would
"positively be all through with his work to prove conclusively
that" he has devised "a practical commercial working engine"
operated by his new force.
On 14 November it was reported that another meeting had been
arranged between Keely and Mrs Bloomfield Moore and New York
capitalists headed by John Jacob Astor IV, who were interested in
the Keely Motor Company. It was reported the following week
that Astor had purchased a large interest in the motor from "a
person who for some years past has been an enthusiastic advocate
of M. Keely".
Also in November 1895, Mrs Moore invited Addison B. Burk,
president of the Spring Garden Institute to make an inspection.
Burk asked if electrical engineer E. Alexander Scott of the
Engineers Club could accompany him, and this was agreed to. In the
event, Scott took charge of the investigation as he was familiar
with Keely and had talked to him in 1874.
Scott made several visits to Keely's workshop, beginning on 9
November 1895, and was shown many demonstrations. Among these was
a levitation experiment where heavy weights in sealed flasks of
water were made to rise and fall in response to differently
pitched sounds from a zither, to activate a "globe liberator"
which then transmitted "the aetheric force" through a wire to the
water container. This had been shown to many investors and
investigators. Scott was accompanied by Burk on his second and
third visits and when the two analysed what they had seen they
concluded that compressed air had been used in nearly all the
experiments, in some cases alongside another more powerful but
hidden force. The demonstration with the rising and falling
weights was powered by compressed air via a thin tube which Keely
had assured Burk and Scott was a solid wire and which was a common
feature in nearly every piece of apparatus in Keely's
Burk and Scott reported their findings to Mrs Moore, who was
concerned by the negative report, and also by dismissive articles
in the press. It was reported on 22 March 1896 that Mrs Bloomfield
Moore had arranged with Professor Wentworth Lascelles Scott of
London to investigate Keely's claims of etheric force and also to
examine his other inventions. It was said that "an important
series of tests will be made in the presence of the
scientist". Lascelles Scott was allowed to examine whatever he
wanted and had complete instructions on its use from Keely. After
spending a month investigating, Lascelles Scott stated to a
meeting of the Franklin Institute that "Keely has demonstrated to
me, in a way which is absolutely unquestionable, the existence of
a force hitherto unknown."
Since Lascelles Scott and Alexander Scott disagreed, they were
brought together to witness more demonstrations by Keely. Mrs
Moore suggested that a definitive test would be to cut the wire
that Scott alleged was in fact an air pipe, but Keely flatly
refused to do so and Mrs Moore, her faith shaken, reduced Keely's
On 24 December 1895 Mrs Bloomfield Moore said that due to the
position taken by the managers of the old Keely Motor Company at
the annual meeting, and the delay on the part of the stockholders
in accepting his proposition for a reorganization, Keely had
decided not to take out any patents on his inventions, and would
instead adopt a royalty system in dealing with his inventions
commercially. Mrs Moore said that at least 30 patents would be
required, which would take much time and money which would be
better used in developing Keely's system.
On 18 June 1897 Keely demonstrated his new etheric engine to the
General Manager of the Manhattan Elevated Railway, the Chief
Engineer of Western Union, and a representative of the
Metropolitan Traction Company. All were reported as being
surprised at the force produced by Keely's new motor, but declined
to express any opinion as to its value. The engine was reported as
weighing about 200 lb (91 kg) and being capable of developing 10
Keely died at his home in Philadelphia from pneumonia on 18
November 1898. His will was admitted to probate on 1 December,
and bequeathed his entire estate of about $10,000 to his widow,
Anna M. Keely, who was appointed his executor. The will made no
reference to his motor.
Keely is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd,
The first meeting of the Keely Motor Company's stockholders
following his death was held on 20 December 1898. Charles S. Hill,
his widow's attorney, stated that Keely's secret did not exist in
manuscript form, but that Keely had suggested before his death
that an inventor, Thomas Burton Kinraide of Boston, was the one
man who could successfully carry on his work. Hill then announced
that he had a secret which he would pass on to only one person.
This secret, he said, was "of a nature to encourage the
stockholders and to induce them to leave everything in Kinraide's
hands for one year". John J. Smith, one of the Company's
Directors, was appointed to confer with Hill, and later reported
that the secret told to him by Hill "offered great encouragement
to the stockholders" but did not divulge any further details.
In January 1899 Kinraide had 20 large packing cases transported to
his laboratory in Jamaica Plain, Boston, said to contain the
material part of Keely's motor. Kinraide said that he had often
talked with Keely about the principles of his invention and said
that he felt he knew more about it than any other person. He was
to continue with Keely's experiments at the request of Mr. and Mrs
Keely. However, on 6 May 1899 it was reported that Kinraide
had abandoned all work on the Keely motor and was to return all
the machines and notes to the Keely Company. He stated that he
wanted nothing more to do with the motor due to the notoriety
caused him by the Philadelphia Press's report and when asked
whether he thought the motor was a fraud simply replied that he
had not arrived at any such conclusion and had decided to make no
Philadelphia Press investigation
On 19 January 1899 The Philadelphia Press published an illustrated
article detailing an investigation made by the newspaper of
Keely's workshop, in which the Press contended that the
investigation had clearly proven Keely's motor to have been "a
delusion and deception" and that its alleged mysterious forces
were the result of trickery.
The investigation, which took a week, was assisted by consulting
engineer Professor Carl Hering, Assistant Professor of Physics at
the University of Pennsylvania Professor Arthur W. Goodspeed,
Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of
Pennsylvania Lightner Witmer, and Doctor M. G. Miller, who
superintended digging operations. Electrical engineer Clarence B.
Moore, the son of Mrs. Bloomfield Moore, was an observer. The
scientists involved substantiated the report with signed
The floors of Keely's workshop were taken up and a brick wall was
removed. Inside the wall they found mechanical belts linked to a
silent water motor two floors below the laboratory. In the
basement there was a three-ton sphere of compressed air that ran
the machines through hidden high pressure tubes and switches. The
walls, ceilings and even solid beams were found to have concealed
tubes. Journalists documented everything photographically to leave
no room for doubt. Hering and Goodspeed were of the opinion that
the tubing and the large steel sphere in the basement indicated
the use of normal forces and possible deception, and Hering said
in his signed statement that Keely had probably lied and deceived,
and was satisfied that he had used highly compressed air to power
At a meeting of the Keely Motor Company's board on 25 January
1899, President B. L. Ackerman issued a statement denying the
Philadelphia Press report. The statement claimed that the tubes
mentioned in the report had been discarded by Keely years before,
and that in all his experiments since 1887 only solid wires had
been used. Up to that time, it was stated, Keely had been working
on a theory of etheric or vaporic force, and used the tubes to
convey this force, but after 1887 he was convinced that he had
discovered what he called "vibratory sympathy". A concealed
electric wire discovered in Keely's workshop was described by
Ackerman as the remains of the wires of a burglar alarm, and in no
way connected with the force used by Keely's motor. The statement
denied all assertions that Keely was an imposter, and declared
that there was no trickery in any of the results that Keely had
claimed to have obtained.
Today, Philadelphia has forgotten all about its infamous resident.
Even Keely's old house has completely disappeared and the site is
now a private parking lot for the property next door. A model
of Keely's engine was in the collection of the Franklin Institute
in Philadelphia, and an "Etheric Force Machine" of his dating from
1878 is in the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont.
Keely still has supporters, who continue to claim that he was
"Unfortunately the history books took the Scientific American
debunking as fact and John Keely has been portrayed historically
as a fraud and a conman. This is because Clarence Moore found the
floor of Keely's 'workshop' raised and saw a pressure machine that
was hooked up to his machines to make them look like they actually
worked. Those who have any inkling of physics who have studied
what remains of his work, know these reports to be mostly
erroneous." — Jerry Decker, KeelyNet.com
Dale Pond's Was Keely a Fraud? argues against the idea that Keely
was a fraud.
Keely's theories form the basis of Sympathetic Vibratory Physics
which is detailed within the SVPwiki where the bulk of his found
writings are presented for study.
Keely's theories were featured prominently in the 1998 book Gods
of Eden by Andrew Collins, in relation to the theoretical use of
SVP-based devices as systems of levitation.
Note: In 2005 Jeff and Rita Behary found the original glass plate
negatives of the Keely Motor taken by Thomas Burton Kinraide in
his Jamaica Plain home Ravenscroft. They show the contents of the
Keely Motor and are the last known photos of the motor ever
taken. Kinraide discovered evidence of plain fraud within the
motor but did not wish this information to be published because
Keely was a close friend and he did not wish to further tarnish
his name in the press. The photos can be found here :
^ a b Federal Writers' Project, Philadelphia: A Guide to the
Nation's Birthplace, US History Publishers, p. 119, ISBN
^ US Inflation Calculator
^ a b "KEELY'S ETHERIC VAPOR; HE EXPLAINS HIS INVENTION TO A
REPORTER. THE INVENTOR SATISFIED WITH HIS SANDY HOOK
EXPERIMENTS--ANOTHER PUBLIC TEST PROMISED SOON." (PDF), New York
Times, 22 September 1884
^ a b c d "KEELY'S RED LETTER DAY; HE STARTS HIS MOTOR FOR A FEW
MORE TURNS. SOME CURIOUS TRICKERY WHICH HIS STOCKHOLDERS APPLAUDED
AND HIS LEARNED EXPLANATION OF IT." (PDF), New York Times, 7 June
^ a b c "THE KEELY MOTOR.; WHAT IS CLAIMED FOR IT." (PDF), New
York Times,11 June 1875
^ "MRS. BLOOMFIELD MOORE DEAD.; Philadelphia Woman, Interested in
the Keely Motor, Dies in London -- An Eventful Life." (PDF), New
York Times, 6 January 1899
^ "RID OF KEELY AT LAST.; HIS GREATEST BENEFACTOR WASHES HER HANDS
OF THE "INVENTOR."" (PDF), New York Times, 18 December 1890
^ "KEELY'S SECRET DEMANDED.; THE STOCKHOLDERS OF THE MOTOR COMPANY
WANT TO KNOW SOMETHING." (PDF), New York Times, 15 December 1881
^ "KEELY WISHES TO KEEP HIS SECRET." (PDF), New York Times, 21
^ "SEEKING KEELY'S SECRET." (PDF), New York Times, 28 March 1882
^ "KEELY TO DIVULGE HIS SECRET." (PDF), New York Times, 2 April
^ "KEELY'S ALLELGED MOTOR." (PDF), New York Times, 25 May 1882
^ "ONE MAN TO KNOW KEELY'S SECRET." (PDF), New York Times, 8 June
^ "MR.KEELY NOT YET READY.; ANNUAL MEETING OF THE MOTOR COMPANY
--REPORTS OF KEELY AND BOEKEL." (PDF), New York Times, 14 December
^ "THE KEELY MOTOR COMPLETED.; TO BE READY FOR OPERATION THE FIRST
WEEK IN SEPTEMBER." (PDF), New York Times, 29 August 1883
^ "MR. KEELY'S PERFORMANCES.; ANOTHER POSTPONEMENT OF THE MOTOR
TEST ANNOUNCED." (PDF), New York Times, 30 August 1883
^ "DISGUSTED KEELY MOTOR MEN." (PDF), New York Times, 30 October
^ "KEELY EXPLAINS AGAIN." (PDF), New York Times, 31 October 1883
^ "MORE TIME FOR KEELY.; THE MOTOR MAN GRANTED TWO MONTHS TO
COMPLETE HIS INVENTION." (PDF), New York Times, 13 December 1883
^ "THE MOTOR STILL NOT READY." (PDF), New York Times, 2 February
^ "KEELY NOT YET READY." (PDF), New York Times, 26 March 1884
^ "KEELY'S VAPORIC FORCE.; EXPERIMENTS WITH A MYSTERIOUS GUN AT
SANDY HOOK." (PDF), New York Times, 21 September 1884
^ "LIEUT. ZALINSKI AND MR. KEELY." (PDF), New York Times, 24
^ "KEELY BEARDED IN HIS DEN; TOO MUCH NECROMANCY AND TOO LITTLE
SCIENCE. LIEUT. ZALINSKI'S VISIT TO THE PHILADELPHIA CONJURER
UNSATISFACTORY--WHAT COMPRESSED AIR WILL DO." (PDF), New York
Times, 16 November 1884
^ "KEELY STILL PROMISING WONDERS." (PDF), New York Times, 27 March
^ "KEELY'S CHANGE OF BASE; HIS "ETHERIC FORCE" LONG SINCE
ABANDONED. "VIBRATORY SYMPATHY" HIS PLEA NOW FOR EXTRACTING MONEY
FROM CONFIDING STOCKHOLDERS." (PDF), New York Times, 15 December
^ a b "THE MOTOR GETS INTO COURT.; A SUIT WHICH MAY FORCE KEELY TO
SHOW HIS HAND." (PDF), New York Times, 4 January 1888
^ "THE KEELY MOTOR EXPERTS." (PDF), New York Times, 8 April 1888
^ "KEELY NOT YET IN JAIL.; WHY THE COURT HESITATES TO COMMIT HIM."
(PDF), New York Times, 19 September 1888
^ "INVENTOR KEELY IN JAIL.; SENT TO PRISON FOR REFUSING TO OBEY
THE COURT." (PDF), New York Times, 18 November 1888
^ "KEELY OUT ON BAIL.; THE CONTEMPT CASE BEFORE THE SUPREME
COURT." (PDF), New York Times, 21 November 1888
^ "KEELY NOT IN CONTEMPT.; THE ORDER COMMITTING HIM REVERSED BY
THE SUPREME COURT." (PDF), New York Times, 29 January 1889
^ "KEELY'S MISSING LINK." (PDF), New York Times, 28 March 1889
^ "KEELEY STILL PROMISING.; CONSOLING HIS VICTIMS WITH EMPTY
WORDS. HE ADMITS THAT HIS "GRADUATING" WORK IS SADLY BEHINDS BUT
CLAIMS ULTIMATE SUCCESS FOR HIS "MOTOR."" (PDF), New York Times,
18 December 1889
^ a b c "KEELY'S MOTOR." (PDF), New York Times, 8 November 1895
^ a b Ord-Hume, Arthur W. J. G. (2006), Perpetual Motion: The
History of an Obsession, Adventures Unlimited Press, p. 143, ISBN
^ "Astor and Keely to Confer Again" (PDF), New York Times, 15
^ a b Ord-Hume, p. 144
^ "To Investigate Keely's Claims." (PDF), New York Times, 22 March
^ "What Keely Will Do." (PDF), New York Times, 25 December 1895
^ "A KEELY MOTOR TESTED.; New Etheric Engine and Its Powers
Displayed in Philadelphia to Representative Railroad Men." (PDF),
New York Times, 20 June 1897
^ "KEELY, THE INVENTOR, DEAD.; Maker of the Famous "Motor" Expires
Suddenly at His Home in Philadelphia." (PDF), The New York Times,
19 November 1898
^ "INVENTOR KEELY'S WILL FILED." (PDF), The New York Times, 2
^ "THE KEELY MOTOR COMPANY.; Stockholders Hardly Know What to Do
Now that Keely Is Dead -- Mysterious Communication." (PDF), The
New York Times, 21 December 1898
^ "KEELY'S MOTOR IN BOSTON.; Mr. Kinraide to Continue Experiments
with the Invention." (PDF), The New York Times, 4 January 1899
^ "KEELY MOTOR ABANDONED.; T. Burton Kinraide Will Have No More to
Do with It." (PDF), The New York Times, 7 May 1899
^ a b c "Keely's Secret Disclosed.; Scientists Examine His
Laboratory and Discover Hidden Tubes in Proof of His Deception."
(PDF), The New York Times, 20 January 1899
^ "DENIES KEELY WAS AN IMPOSTOR; President of the Motor Company
Defends the Dead Inventor." (PDF), The New York Times, 26 January
^ Ord-Hume, p. 150
^ The last known photos of the Keely Motor.
New York Times, 21 September 1884
"KEELY'S VAPORIC FORCE ; EXPERIMENTS WITH A
MYSTERIOUS GUN AT SANDY HOOK."
( PDF )
The New York Times, 20 January 1899
"Keely's Secret Disclosed.; Scientists
Examine His Laboratory and Discover Hidden Tubes in Proof of
( PDF )
A presentation of The Nature and Dynamics
of Vibration, Oscillation & Spin
Jeremy Pfeiffer reference imagery and concepts observed
in modes of acoustic vibrations. SVP and late 18th century etheric
science as taught to me by Dale Pond and John Worrell Keely...
Cause of Rotation
An artistic exploration in SVP and late 18th century etheric
sciences. Inspired by Dale Pond and John Worrell Keely. Dedicated
to the restoration of good classic works by many. Light, Lens,
Paper, Pencil and Compass.
Laws of Matter and Force
by John Worrell Keely
Quoted from Dashed Against the Rock- Colville
Matter is capable of infinite subdivision.
In the aggregation of matter, force or energy is stored up or
In the dissociation of matter, force is liberated.
All matter is in a state of perpetual activity, whether the
substance under consideration be inanimate or animated, visible or
There is no dividing of matter and force into two distinct terms,
as they both are ONE.FORCE is liberated matter. Matter is force in
All motion is synchronous; no sound or movement can be made but
all that moves or sounds does so in harmony with something.
All structures, whether crystalline or homogeneous, have for their
unit structures minute bodies called molecules. It is the motion
of these molecules with which we have particularly to deal; as in
experimental research and demonstration, when we produce an action
upon one Molecule we do so upon all the molecules constituting the
mass operated upon.
These molecules have an envelope, rotating with inconceivable
rapidity, formed of a high tenuous ether, whose place in the order
of subdivision ranks third, the three divisions being, - first,
molecular; second, atomic; third, atomolic. (For convenience' sake
we will use the term atomolic in place of etheric in our
This atomolic substance has a density approximately 986,000 times
that of steel, enabling it to permeate steel as light penetrates
glass; this rotating envelope of atomolic substance is in a liquid
condition. There are four conditions of matter; viz. solid,
liquid,gaseous, and ultra-gaseous. These conditions result from
greater or lesser range of oscillation of the composing units
individually: this is equally true, whether the units are
molecules, atoms, atomoles, planets, or suns. But one LAW governs
This molecular envelope, rotating with such great velocity, holds
in its embrace the next subdivision of matter, the atomic. There
cannot ever be more or less than three atoms in any Molecule.
These are placed so as to form a triangle in the interior; they
rest in a condition of substance, or matter, we will term
inter-molecular. In this inter-molecular substance we find an
enormous energy or force in bondage, held thus by the rotating
envelope enclosing it.Were we to rotate a spun brass shell, say
nine inches in diameter, at a very much less rate of speed than
that at which the molecular envelope rotates, say nine hundred
revolutions per second, - its equator would first bulge out, then
form into an oval disc. A solid block of wood subject to such
revolution would swiftly fly to pieces. The rotating envelope of
aMolecule,unlike these, the greater its velocity of rotation, the
greater is its compression toward the centre (syntropy) of the
molecule. The rotation of this envelope is of such a nature as to
produce an internal pressure upon every portion from every point
of the Molecule as a sphere. Were we to consider a rotating
envelope as ordinarily understood, it would be one in which the
envelope rotated around an equator having poles of no rotation; i.
e. the poles would not possess the compressing force of the
equator: the result would therefore be a compressed equator, and
the intermolecular substance would pass out without resistance at
If it be possible let us conceive an envelope with an equator, but
destitute of poles,a number of these rotating over the sphere,
this atomolic envelope possessing an almost infinite attractive
force toward the centre of theMolecule, pressing in the
inter-molecular substance, where it is held until this revolving
envelope becomes negatized by a certain order of vibration, when
the enclosed matter rushes out to its natural condition of
concordant tenuity, as in the case of gunpowder, dynamite, and
nitro-glycerine. This force, we must see,has been held in the
embrace of the rotating envelopes of the unit-structures, or where
does it come from? This force at the time of an explosion was
liberated by shock or fire, both being orders of imparted motion
or vibration. How much greater the result would be were we to
associate a scientific instrument now completed, and shortly to be
given to the world, an agent as nitro-glycerine; one
pound of nitro-glycerine would have its destructive force
augmented beyond all possible control. These instruments are
carefully concealed by wise masters from all persons save the few
who are already prepared to study their potency with the exclusive
end in view of aiding the real scientific progress of humanity;
and, furthermore, be truly stated that a ferocious
sensualist, however powerful his intellect, would be utterly
unable to either comprehend or operate one of these marvelous
Next in order of consideration is the second subdivision of matter
- the atomic. The atom has the same rotating envelope as
theMolecule, governed by the same laws of rotation and
compression. The rotating envelope holds in its embrace the
interatomic substance and three atomoles resting in it, the
atomoles within the atom being constructed after the same pattern
as the atom and theMolecule, obedient to the same laws; the atomic
being simply the third subdivision of matter. The threefold order
is absolutely universal.
The atomolic substance is what is termed the ether which fills all
space and is the transmitting medium for all celestial and
terrestrial forces. This is the liquid ether of occult science.
The atomoles are made up of atomolini (singular atomolinus ); the
subdivision of matter from this point is beyond man's power,
as at this point it escapes all control of apparatus, passing
through glass and hardened steel as a luminous flame without heat,
which is hardly seen before it vanishes, - a perpetual flame
This again, from previous analysis, is made up according to the
triple order, and may again be subject to subdivision, even to
John Ernst Worrell Keely's Forty Laws
of Sympathetic Vibratory Physics
The following forty laws governing natural harmony, sound and
vibration are explored by Dale Pond in detail in his book:
Universal Laws Never Before Revealed: Keelys Secrets. Some of
these laws are again explored in Its a Musical Universe!
(1) Law of Matter and Force
"Coextensive and coeternal with space and duration, there exists
an infinite and unchangeable quantity of atomoles, the base of all
matter; these are in a state of constant vibratory motion,
infinite in extent, unchangeable in quantity, the initial of all
forms of energy."
(2) Law of Corporeal Vibrations
"All coherent aggregates when isolated from like bodies, or when
immersed or confined in media composed of matter in a different
state, vibrate at a given ascertainable pitch."
(3) Law of Corporeal Oscillations
"All coherent aggregates not isolated from like bodies, oscillate
at a period-frequency varying with the tensions that augment and
diminish the state of equilibrium."
(4) Law of Harmonic Vibrations
"All coherent aggregates are perpetually vibrating at a
period-frequency corresponding to some harmonic ratio of the
fundamental pitch of the vibrating body; this pitch is a multiple
of the pitch of the atomole."
(5) Law of Transmissive Vibraic Energy
"All oscillating and vibrating coherent aggregates create, in the
media in which they are immersed, outwardly propagated concentric
waves of alternate condensation and rarefaction, having a
period-frequency identical with the pitch of the aggregate.
Scholium: All forms of transmissive energy can be focussed,
reflected, refracted, diffracted, transformed, and diminished in
intensity inversely as the square of the distance from the
(6) Law of Sympathetic Oscillation
"Coherent aggregates immersed in a medium pulsating at their
natural pitch simultaneously oscillate with the same frequency,
whether the pitch of the medium be a unison, or any harmonic of
the fundamental pitch of the creative aggregate."
(7) Law of Attraction
"Juxtaposed coherent aggregates vibrating in unison, or harmonic
ration, are mutually attracted."
(8) Law of Repulsion
"Juxtaposed coherent aggregates vibrating in discord are mutually
(9) Law of Cycles
"Coherent aggregates harmonically united constitute centers of
vibration bearing relation to the fundamental pitch not multiples
of the harmonic pitch, and the production of secondary unions
between themselves generate pitches that are discords, either in
their unisons, or overtones with the original pitch; from harmony
is generated discord, the inevitable cause of perpetual
(10) Law of Harmonic Pitch
"Any aggregate in a state of vibration develops in addition to its
fundamental pitch a series of vibration in symmetrical
sub-multiple portions of itself, bearing ratios of one, two,
three, or more times its fundamental pitch."
(11) Law of Force
"Energy manifests itself in three forms: Creative, the vibrating
aggregate; Transmissive, being the propagation of isochronous
waves through the media in which it is immersed; Attractive, being
its action upon other aggregates capable of vibrating in unisons
(12) Law of Oscillating Atomic Substances
"Coherent atomic substances are capable of oscillating at a pitch
varying directly as the density, and inversely as the linear
dimensions from one period of frequency per unit of time to the
21st octave above, producing the creative force of Sonity, whose
transmissive force (Sound) is propagated through the media of
solids, liquids, and gases, and whose static effect (Sonism)
produces attractions and repulsions between sympathetically
vibrating bodies according to the Law of Harmonic Attraction and
(13) Law of Sono-thermity
"Internal vibrations of atomic substances and atomic molecules are
capable of vibrating at a period-frequency directly as their
density, inversely as their linear dimensions, directly as the
coefficient of their tension from the 21st to the 42nd octaves,
producing the creative force (Sono-thermity), whose transmissive
force (Sono-therm) is propagated in solid, liquid, gaseous, and
ultra-gaseous media, statically producing adhesions and molecular
unions, or disintegration, according to the Law of Harmonic
Attraction and Repulsion."
(14) Law of Oscillating Atoms
"All atoms when in a state of tension are capable of oscillating
at a pitch inversely as the cube of their atomic weights, and
directly as their tension from 42 to 63 octaves per second,
producing the creative force (Thermism), whose transmissive force
(Rad-energy) propagated in solid, liquid, and gaseous ether,
produces the static effects (Cohesion and Chemism) on other atoms
of association, or dissociation, according to the Law of Harmonic
Attraction and Repulsion.
Scholium: Dark radiant heat begins at absolute zero
temperature, and extends through light, chemical rays, actinic
rays, and infra-violet rays, up to the dissociation of all
molecules to the 63rd octave."
(15) Law of Vibrating Atomolic Substances
"Atoms are capable of vibrating within themselves at a pitch
inversely as the Dyne (the local coefficient of Gravity), and as
the atomic volume, directly as the atomic weight, producing the
creative force (Electricity), whose transmissive force is
propagated through atomolic solids, liquids, and gases, producing
induction and the static effect of magnetism upon other atoms of
attraction or repulsion, according to the Law of Harmonic
Attraction and Repulsion.
Scholium: The phenomenon of Dynamic Electricity through a
metallic conductor and of induction are identical. In a metallic
conductor, the transmission is from atom to atom, through
homologous interstices, filled with ether, presenting small areas
in close proximity. In crystalline structures, heat, which expands
the atoms, by twisting them produces striae, increases the
resistance, etc. Between parallel wires and through air the
induction takes place from large areas through a rarefied medium
composed of a mixture of substances, whose atoms are separated by
waves of repulsion of various pitches, discordant to electric
vibrations; the said atoms sympathetically absorb the vibrations
and dissipate from themselves, as centers, concentric waves of
electric energy which produces heat and gravism."
(16) Law of Oscillating Atomoles
"Atomoles oscillating at a uniform pitch (determined by their
uniform size and weight) produce the creative force Atomolity,
whose transmissive form, Gravism, is propagated through more
rarefied media, producing the static effect upon all other
atomoles, denominated Gravity."
(17) Law of Transformation of Forces
"All forces are different forms of Universal Energy unlike in
their period- frequency, merging into each other by imperceptible
increments; each form representing the compass of 21 octaves. Each
form or pitch may be transformed into an equivalent quantity of
another pitch above or below it in the scale of 105 octaves. The
transformation can occur only through its static effect,
developing vibrations of harmonic pitches above or below their
fundamental vibration, or developing with juxtaposed aggregates,
resultant and difference, or third order, as the case may be.
Scholium: A table of the intervals and harmonics of the
normal harmonic scale will indicate the ratios in which the
transformation of forces will occur."
(18) Law of Atomic Pitch
"Atoms have each a different and definite pitch, at which they
Scholium: Atomic pitch is determined directly from its
Scholium: Atomic pitch is determined by computations from
its associate spectrum with all other atoms, as in known spectra.
Scholium: Atomic pitches are more important working data
than atomic weights; tables of atomic pitches must be precise."
(19) Law of Variation of Atomic Pitch by Rad-energy
"The higher harmonics and overtones of projected rad-energy are of
a pitch sufficiently high to cause the atom to expand; by causing
the atomoles to vibrate systematically the same influence will
cause the atom to contract, and thus by changing the volume,
atomic pitch is varied."
(20) Law of Variation of Atomic Pitch by Electricity and
"Electricity and Magnetism produce internal vibrations in the
atom, which are followed by proportional changes in volume and,
(21) Law of Variation of Atomic Pitch by Temperature
"Atoms in chemical combination oscillate with increasing amplitude
directly as the temperature, and simultaneously absorb overtones
of higher harmonics, producing expansion of volume and diminution
Rule: The gradual approach of the temperature of harmonic
combination can be observed by mutually comparing superimposed
spectra; chemical combination commences when the fundamental lines
of each spectrum bear harmonic ratios by linear measurement."
(22) Law of Pitch of Atomic Oscillation
"Atoms not isolated and in a state of tension between forces that
oppose and increase the equilibrium oscillate bodily at a pitch
that is a resultant of the atomic weight, atomic volume, and
(23) Law of Variation of Pitch of Atomic Oscillation by
"The frequency of atomic oscillation increases and diminishes
inversely as the square of the pressure."
(24) Law of Variation of Atomic Oscillation by Temperature
"The force of cohesion diminishes inversely as the square of the
distance the atoms are apart, and the force of the chemical
affinity diminishes in the same ratio. Heat increases the
amplitude of the oscillations in a direct ratio to the temperature
of the natural scale.
Scholium: New thermometers and accurate thermometric
tables, on the natural base, wherein doubling the temperature
doubles the pitch of the transmissive energy, are required. Such a
table of temperature will bear natural relations to atomic
weights, pitches, specific heats, chemical affinities, fusions,
solubilities, etc., and will disclose new laws. One table for each
must be constructed."
(25) Law of Variation of Atomic Oscillation by Electricity
"The electric current destroys cohesion and chemical tension
directly as square of current in amperes, inversely as the
resistance in ohms, inversely as the chemical equivalent, and
conversely as the coefficient of the difference between the
freezing and volatilizing temperature of mass acted upon."
(26) Law of Variation of Atomic Oscillation by Sono-thermism
"Diminishes the tensions directly as the quantity of heat
developed, and in antithetical proportion to the harmonics
(27) Law of Chemical Affinity
"Atoms whose atomic pitches are in either unison, harmonic or
concordant ratios, unite to form molecules.
Corollary: When two atoms are indifferent, they may be made
to unite by varying the pitch of either, or both.
Scholium: This necessitates the construction of tables,
representing variation of atomic pitches by temperature, pressure,
Scholium: Tables of all harmonics and concords, and
harmonics founded upon a normal harmonic scale, are equally
Scholium: Optical instruments may be made to measure
pitches of energy."
(28) Law of Chemical Dissociation
"If the pitch of either atom, in a molecule, be raised or lowered;
or, if they both be unequally raised or lowered in pitch until the
mutual ratio be that of a discord; or, if the oscillation
amplitude be augmented by heat until the atoms are with the
concentric waves of attraction, - the atoms will separate."
(29) Law of Chemical Transposition
"New molecules must be harmonics of the fundamental pitch."
(30) Law of Chemical Substitution
"(too complex for brief statement)"
(31) Law of Catalysis
"The presence of harmonics and discords."
(32) Law of Molecular Synthesis and Combination (Organic)
"The molecular pitch must be a derived harmony of the radicals.
Scholium: Reconstruction of electric units to represent
pitches and amplitudes."
(33) Law of Chemical Morphology
"The angle of crystallization is determined by the relation
between the molecular pitch of the crystallizing substance to the
variation- density of the liquid depositing it."
(34) Law of Atomic Dissociation
"Overtones of high rad-energy pitches produce separation of the
atomoles and recombinations among the atomolic molecules of the
(35) Law of Atomolic Synthesis of Chemical Elements
"Harmonic pitches of atomolity produce association of
etheric-atomolic particles to form atoms; the kind of atom is
determinable by the pitches employed."
(36) Law of Heat
"Atoms under the tension of chemical combination oscillate with an
amplitude directly as the temperature, inversely as the pressure,
and as the square of the specific heat. Diminishing the pitch of
oscillation inversely as the square of the distance of the atoms
apart, and simultaneously increasing the vibrating pitch of the
atom by absorption of overtones and higher harmonics."
(37) Law of Electro-Chemical Equivalents
"An atom vibrates sympathetically under the influence of electric
energy, such undertones of which are absorbed as are a harmonic or
harmony of the electric pitch; the amount of energy absorbed being
directly as the arithmetical ratio of the undertone of the
fundamental electric pitch.
Scholium: A table of electro-chemical equivalents on the
normal basis will indicate the electrical conditions and amount of
(38) Law of Cohesion
"The cohesion between atoms diminishes directly as the square root
of the pressure and temperature, and as the square of electric
(39) Law of Refractive Indices
"A table of the refractive indices of substances indicates their
molecular pitch; and in connection with crystalline form the phase
of molecular oscillation."
(40) Law of Electric Conductivity
"Electric energy is transmitted through homogeneous bodies with a
completeness in direct proportion as the atoms are more or less
perfect harmonics of the electric pitch, but not at all through
substances whose atoms are discordant to the electric pitch; also
through molecular substances, when their resultant notes are
harmonics of the electric pitch, - the transmissions being
inversely as the temperature, directly as the density diminished
in proportion to the amount of crystallization, and inversely as
the cube of the dyne, also directly as the reciprocal of the local
Snell Manuscript (Keely's Secrets)
by Gregg Martin
Keely's Laws of Being
by Dale Pond
The Keely Motor - Photographs by T B
Click to enlarge :
Universal Laws Never Before Revealed
by Dale Pond
Keely Technology Devices Pictures
THE KEELY MOTOR COMPANY
Donald E. Simanek
John Worrell Keely (1837-1898) of Philadelphia was a carpenter and
mechanic who announced in 1872 that he had discovered a new
principle for power production. The vibrations of a simple tuning
fork had given him the idea, and the means to tap etheric energy.
Keely persuaded a dozen engineers and capitalists to invest in the
idea, forming the Keely Motor Company in New York in 1872. Soon he
had capital of one million dollars, primarily from wealthy New
York and Philadelphia businessmen. He used the money to buy
materials necessary for building a motor based on his theories.
Keely Motor Company Board of Directors
Soon he had constructed an etheric generator, which he
demonstrated to amazed audiences in 1874 in Philadelphia. Keely
blew into a nozzle for half a minute, then poured five gallons of
tap water into the same nozzle. After some fine adjustments the
pressure gage indicated pressures of 10,000 pounds per square
inch. This, said Keely, was evidence that the water had been
disintegrated and a mysterious vapor had been liberated in the
generator, capable of powering machinery.
One spectator at a Keely demonstration described the power of the
machine. "Great ropes were torn apart, iron bars broken in two or
twisted out of shape, bullets discharged through twelve inch
planks, by a force which could not be determined."
Keely predicted his discovery would make other forms of power
obsolete. A quart of water would be enough to send a train from
Philadelphia to San Francisco and back. A gallon would propel a
steamship from N. Y. to Liverpool and back. "A bucket of water has
enough of this vapor to produce a power sufficient to move the
world out of its course."
Keely lived comfortably, as befitted the president of a company,
but not extravagently. To his credit, he plowed most of the
invested money into research equipment and tools. He did most of
the experimentation himself, designing and constructing his own
apparatus. He was not willing to entrust his secret to those who
could not or would not understand—especially physicists and
engineers. Skeptics noted that the equipment could never be made
to work as it was supposed to unless Keely was present.
The work went slowly. To keep up the spirits of stockholders Keely
staged occasional public demonstrations. These were masterpieces
of showmanship. He demonstrated a marvelous machine, a "vibratory
engine" or "hydro-pneumatic pulsating vacuo-engine." It was a work
of the machinist's art, made of gleaming brass and copper. The
engine was attached to another machine called a "liberator," a
complicated array of brass wires, tubes and tuning forks.
Keely explained that he was tapping a "latent force" of nature—the
vibratory energy of the ether. [We can blame that idea on the
physicists.] Keely often used a harmonica, violin, flute, zither
or pitch pipe to activate his machines. Some said that it was
worth the price of being duped to hear the eloquent language Keely
used wo explain his theory. [Keely was said to have considerable
musical knowledge and talent.] Skeptics suggested that these
musical tones were a signal to a hidden confederate to activate
the secret trickery and mechanisms that made the miracles happen.
A central idea of Keely's theory of nature was the notion that
musical tones could resonate with atoms, or with the ether itself.
He even drew this musical chart to help people understand the
finer points of this theory. [There are those today who use this
as evidence that Keely was far ahead of his time, anticipating the
theory of quantum mechanics.]
Biographers have described Keely as a "mechanical experimenter",
"inventor and imposter", "professor of perfidy", "swindler", and
"scandalous scamp". Keely's lack of formal scientific education
didn't bother his supporters, and didn't deter Keely himself from
grandly proclaiming his theories as "scientific".
Keely expounded his ideas using an elaborate theory of the
"etheric force", spiced with eloquently profound terms such as:
"sympathetic equilibrium, quadrupole negative harmonics, etheric
disintegration". His backers were duly impressed. He looked with
condescending pity on those who appeared not to understand.
Some disillusioned stockholders withdrew their support as Keely's
experiments suffered repeated delays. Keely declared he'd already
proven his theory could be implemented for useful purposes, and he
made vast claims for the economic benefits of etheric energy over
coal and other energy sources. But he resisted investor's demands
that he produce some marketable product. Stockholders were not
happy with Keely's insistence that more experimentation was needed
to "perfect" the machines. Fortunately, when nearing bankruptcy,
Keely acquired a wealthy backer, Mrs. Clara S. J.
Bloomfield-Moore, the widow of a Philadelphia paper manufacturer.
She advanced him over $100,000 for expenses and promised him a
salary of $2,500 per month. She became active in promoting Keely
in journals and books and in seeking scientists who might validate
his claims. She suggested that Keely share his secret with Edison
or Tesla to hasten its development, but he refused. He did agree
that scientists at least be allowed to observe the demonstrations.
E. Alexander Scott, an electrical engineer, witnessed such a
demonstration. When Keely showed him the etheric power causing a
weight to rise and fall in a closed flask of water, Scott was
unimpressed. Keely used the sound from a zither to activate the
globe liberator which then supposedly transmitted the etheric
force through a wire to the water container. Scott suspected the
weight was really hollow, so that the slightest change of water
pressure could cause it to rise or fall, just as a Cartesian
diver. The wire, he guessed, was a hollow tube transmitting air
pressure to the water chamber. To counter this suggestion, Keely
cut a ways into the wire with a file to prove it solid. But Moore
surreptitiously picked up a scrap piece of similar wire in the
workshop and later found that it did have a very fine, hollow
Other demonstrations showed the etheric force to be great enough
to lift large weights :
It could also fire Keely's "vaporic gun", demonstrated at Sandy
Hook, Long Island :
The secrets of Keely's laboratory,
published in The New York Journal.
The Scientific American magazine followed Keely's career with some
amazement and amusement. They were not impressed, reporting that
all the demonstrations they had witnessed could easily have been
produced with hidden sources of compressed air.
Keely continued this research for fourteen years, occasionally
staging demonstrations to placate impatient stockholders. Mrs.
Moore was concerned by Alexander Scott's negative report, and by
dismissive and unkind articles in newspapers and magazines. So she
sought a second opinion from physicist Prof. W. Lascelles-Scott,
from England. He spent a month in Philadelphia carrying out his
investigation, finally reporting to the Franklin Institute that
"Keely has demonstrated to me, in a way which is absolutely
unquestionable, the existence of a force hitherto unknown."
Since physicist Lascelles-Scott and engineer Alexander Scott
obviously disagreed, they were brought together to witness more
Keely demonstrations. Mrs. Moore suggested that the definitive
test would be to cut that wire that Scott alleged was really an
air line. This time Keely flatly refused to comply.
Lascelles-Scott retreated to England, and Mrs. Moore, her faith
shaken, reduced Keely's salary to $250 per month.
Three ton sphere found in basement of
Keely's laboratory building.
After Keely died on Nov. 18, 1898, suspicious skeptics and
newspaper reporters did a careful examination of his laboratory.
Some of Keely's machinery had already been removed by "believers"
who hoped they could make it work. A Boston electrician, T. Burton
Kinraide, removed the engine to his home at Jamaica Plains. Some
of the apparatus ended up in England. No one could make it
function as it had in Keely's laboratory. The secret was not in
the machines; the secret was in the laboratory building itself.
Engineer Alexander Scott and Mrs. Moore's son, Clarence, examined
the building, accompanied by press and photographers. False
ceilings and floors were ripped up to reveal hidden mechanical
belts and linkages to a silent water motor in the basement (two
floors below the laboratory). A system of pneumatic switches under
the floor boards could be used to turn machinery on and off. A
three-ton sphere was found in the basement, thought to be a
reservoir for compressed air, but which could have been a
discarded piece of one of Keely's many abandoned projects. The
walls, ceilings and even apparently solid beams were found to have
hidden pipework. The evidence of fraud on a grand scale was
obvious and difficult to dismiss.
What's really remarkable is that Mrs. Moore had persuaded a number
of apparently respectable scientists to observe Keely's
demonstrations, and some of them affirmed that they were
impressed, and even convinced that Keely had made revolutionary
scientific discoveries. Why were some so easily duped by Keely's
obvious (though very elaborate) deceptions, which were correctly
guessed by more perceptive and skeptical observers? Of course, it
must be stated that Keely never allowed anyone to examine his
machines, independently test them, or even look inside of them.
Even today, scam artists promoting energy machines can find at
least a few degree-holding engineers or physicists willing to
declare publicly that they found no fraud or deception in the
machines and who are convinced that new scientific principles are
at work. So much for "expert witnesses".
Keely had kept his company going for 26 years without ever
putting a product on the market, paying a dividend or revealing
his secrets. That's his one undisputed accomplishment. He never
divulged his secrets with anyone, so far as we know. One close
friend reported that he had once asked Keely "John, what do you
want for an epitaph?" His answer: "Keely, the greatest humbug of
the nineteenth century."
The term "humbug" is associated with the American showman Phineas
Taylor Barnum (1810-91), who wrote a book "Humbugs of the World"
and was renowned for hoodwinking the public with fake and hyped
"wonders". Barnum and Keely never met, but they might have been
Keely's theories have been cavalierly updated by such folks to
harmonize with their new-age philosophy, and with their shaky
understanding of popularized science. They have translated "ether"
to "zero point energy" or "free energy" that they claim fills all
of space and may be tapped by anyone clever enough to rediscover
Some years ago I had the opportunity to see and examine a model of
Keely's hydro-vacuo engine, part of the collection of the Franklin
Institute in Philadelphia. At that time it was on loan to a
private individual (in exchange for a generous gift to the
museum). Unfortunately backgrounds at this person's home weren't
ideal for photography, and this photo was the best I obtained
(though the original photo was in 3d.)
Though the press classed Keely's claims with "perpetual motion",
Keely himself never claimed that any of his inventions violated
physical laws. He very cleverly couched his claims to be consonant
with speculative science of his day. He exercised eloquent
embellishment of these ideas, and coined marvelous
scientific-sounding words, but without ever carefully defining
them. He was so good at this that his followers today can point to
obscure things Keely said and ingeniously interpret them as
anticipating modern atomic theory.
Present-day "seekers" likewise avoid the term "perpetual motion".
To account for the energy they hope to produce, they invent
mysterious forms of energy "all around us" that have never been
discovered, have no effect on most matter, and have no solid
foundation in well-established and well-tested science.
They hold "science as we know it" in contempt, and see today's
science as a straitjacket restraining those who seek to discover
"new scientific principles." These folks devote far more effort to
rationalizing their methods, justifying their unproven claims, and
inventing new paradigms than they spend producing testable
It is not pathological to admit that science is never complete,
and that new discoveries will be made and will at least modify
some of our present understanding. However, it is just a bit
perverse to justify one's scientific thinking by basing it on the
vague and incomprehensible invented pseudoscientific theories and
experimental deceptions of a 19th century charlatan such as Keely.
Keely may have been a clever con artist, or he may have been a
diligent but misguided seeker of scientific truth who only
fabricated deceptions to gain support. He may have been both.
Whatever may be the case, I confidently predict that if new
sources of energy are ever discovered, they will have not the
slightest connection with anything Keely ever did or imagined.
Present-day followers and admirers of Keely are wasting their
time, and will simply get nowhere as they try to implement his
ideas to produce an energy generator.
Keely Motor Company Stock Certificate
Beautifully engraved certificate #2448 from the Keely Motor
Company issued in 1880. This historic document was printed by the
National Banknote Company and has an ornate border around it with
a vignette a woman next to the steam motor and a vignette of John
Ernst Worrell Keely. This item has the hand signatures of the
Company’s President ( John W. Keely ) and Secretary ( Charles
Schullermann ) and is over 132 years old.
Hydro Pneumatic Pulsating Vacuo Engine
Specification describing a new and useful Hydro Vacuo Engine,
invented by John W. Keely of the City and County of Philadelphia
and state of Pennsylvania.
The end and design of the invention is an engine wherein the
actuating power is produced by a vacuum in connection with water
Figure 1: is a side elevation.
Figure 2: is an end elevation.
Figure 3: is a plan view.
Figure 4: is a sectional side elevation.
Figure 5: is a section through the dotted line 1-1. fig. 4.
Figure 6: is a section through the dotted line 2-2, fig. 4.
Figure 7: is a section through the dotted line 3-3, fig. 4.
Figure 8: is a section of the valve chest.
Figure 9: is the valve or plug.
A. Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, is the bed of the engine B. figures 1, 4,
is a cylindrical semi-globular vessel which is bolted to it and
near its end. C is a vacuum chamber [?] chamber B. it communicates
with it by means of a circle of openings, a, arranged in its base.
Within the chamber B and of very near by the same conformation as
the chamber D. its waist or cylindrical part, E, fits snugly and
tightly the waist or cylindrical part of the vessel B. there is a
space b. between the semi-globular parts of the two vessels.
F is an inverted conical pulsating chamber placed centrally in the
vacuum chamber C. its bottom opens into the vessel D. its top is
closed by a pulsating diaphragm G. the stem H of which passes
through a guide or box C. of the air chamber, I, which is formed
from the vacuum chamber C. by the said pulsating diaphragm.
J is a water and air vessel which is suspended in an opening in
the bed A of the engine, it is divided into two parts by the
pulsating diaphragm K the upper part G is for water, and the lower
part, d, for air, a pipe I communicates with the chamber F.
M is the valve chest and N, the cylinder of the engine, on the
chamber J the valve O is of the three way plug order and is
operated by means of gear wheel and toothed sector e-f figure 1.
which are actuated by the eccentric rod and eccentric P, G.
R. is a crank shaft which turns in suitable bearings in the
housings R. it connects with the piston and piston rod g. by means
of the connecting rod h and the cross head i sliding on the guide
rods j. on the inner end of the shaft R. is the eccentric Q. which
actuates the gear and sector e-f. by means of the ball and socket
eccentric rod P.
SS are shafts which are parallel and turn coincidentally and at
the same speed with the shaft R. by means of the spur and pinion
gearing T', T', T2, T3 they turn in bearings of the housings R2,
R3 the former carries the ball or fly wheel v while the latter has
the crank wheel V on its other end.
W is a balance or compensating lever which turns on the fulcrum K.
depending from the bed plate A of the engine, the ball and socket
rod W1 connects one end of it to the crank wheel v while W3
connects its other end to the lever W2 which turns on a fulcrum b
of the air chamber I.
To start the engine reference being had to figures 1, 4, the
piston g. being on its up stroke, the cock m. of the supply pipe X
is opened and sufficient water is admitted to fill the waist B of
the vessel D the pipe X1 and the chamber J. above the pulsating
diaphragm K. to the dotted line 4-4. the air displaced by the
water is forced into the pulsating cone F and compressed in the
upper part of the chamber J above the said line 4-4. an air pump
is now applied to the nozzle Y of the vacuum chamber C. and the
air exhausted therefrom, the chamber C. communicating with the
semi-globular part of the vessel B through the circle of openings,
a, in its base, and with the horizontal pipe X2 which leads from
the valve chest M to the vessel B, the air is exhausted from all
at the same time.
If the inlet cock, M. of the supply pipe X be opened to its extent
and a full water pressure be admitted to the waist E of the vessel
D it will rise in the semi-globular part of the same and also run
through the pipe X1 into the upper part of the chamber J until the
compression of the air in the conical pulsating chamber F and in
the part, d, of the chamber J equals the pressure of the water,
the cock m. of the pipe T being open to permit a free circulation
of air between the chambers, the pulsating diaphragms G and K.
will be extended, the stem H partaking of the outwardly motion of
its diaphragm will be raised vertically and thereby lift the lever
W3 it will be readily seen that there is an uninterrupted water or
other fluid flow between the vessel D and the upper part of the
chamber J. and an uninterrupted air flow between the lower part of
the same and the conical pulsating chamber F which opens into the
upper part of the said vessel D.
A weight sufficient for obtaining the requisite pressure being
hung so the lever W3 its force on the stem H causes the pulsating
diaphragm G to compress the air in both chambers F, J. downwardly
upon the water of the vessel D. and upwardly by the diaphragm K.
against the water on the pat[?] c1 of the chamber J.
The descending vibration of the lever W3 through its end or
connecting rod W2 depressed the end, O, of the compensating lever
W. and of consequence raises its opposite end p, the connecting
rod W1 of that end turns the crank wheel V. since the shafts SSR
turn coincidently and at the same speed through the medium of the
spur gear and pinion T3, T2, T, T. the eccentric Q. and rod P
working the spur gear and sector e-f. slowly turn the plug valve
O. until its port q and the valve chest port v leading from the
chamber J form a continuous port to the cylinder N.
The water in the pipe X1 in the vessel D and in the upper part of
the chamber J and also the compressed air above the line 4-4
acting under the influence of the compressed air in the conical
chamber F and in the lower part of the chamber J. rushes through
the port, v, and pressing against the under side of the piston g,
causes it to ascend; when it arrives at the end of its stroke, the
eccentric Q and the rod P. together with the gear and sector e-f
will have turned the plug valve V, so as to shut off all
communications of this cylinder N with chamber J. and opened its
port into the pipe X2 through the port X?.
The vessel B, the chamber C and the pipe X2 from one continuous
vacuum, the instant the ports between the cylinder N and the pipe
X2 are opened, the air and water contained in the cylinder is
sucked into the vacuum, the pressure of the atmosphere acting on
the piston through the openings, S, in the cylinder head makes the
return or down stroke, the back pressure of the air and water
being renewed by the vacuum.
The set of the crank wheel v should be such that as the piston
ascends the end p of the compensating lever W should descend and
the end, o ascends, whereby the lever W is raised gradually and
the pulsating diaphragm G is permitted to expand or left unloaded
by the expansion of the air in the chambers F, J and the pressure
of the water flowing through the supply pipe X.
A few revolutions of the engine will effectually exhaust all the
air from the upper part of the chamber J, the valve and valve
chest ports, and from the cylinder beneath the piston.
To draw off the water as exhausted from the cylinder after
performing its work as a mechanical agent, an exhaust pipe X3 taps
the semi-globular part of the vessel B near its top as shown at
figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, its other end dips into water to prevent
the entrance of air, it is freed of its air at the same time with
the vacuum chamber C. and the vessel B.
The pipe X3 prevents the water from raising in the chamber or
vessel C higher than the bottom of the vacuum chamber C. it should
maintain the same level in the vessel D. if it should rise into
the pulsating chamber E. as shown at figure 4. it would reduce the
volume of air and thereby materially interfere with the capacity
of the engine.
When it is desired to stop the engine an air cock L on the swell
or enlargement of the pipe X2 is opened which admits air to the
chamber C. and destroys its vacuum.
I claim as my invention:
First: The cylindrical semi-globular chamber B. in combination
with the vacuum chamber C. and the pipes X2, X3 for the purpose
shown and described.
Second: The cylindrical semi-globular chamber or vessel D in
combination with the conical chamber E. the pulsating diaphragm G.
the stem H the lever W3, and the supply pipe X for the purposes
shown and described.
Third: The cylindrical semi-globular vessel D in combination with
the pulsating chamber E the pipe X1 the pulsating chamber J. and
the pipe I. for the purpose shown and described.
Fourth: The chamber J. in combination with the pulsating diaphragm
K. for the purpose shown and described.
Fifth: The pulsating chamber J. in combination with the valve
chest M. and the cylinder N for the purpose shown and described.
Sixth: The valve chest M. in combination with the pipe X2, the
vessel B. and the vacuum chamber C. for the purpose shown and
Seventh: The valve chest M. in combination with the valve plug O.
the spur gear, e. the sector f. eccentric rod P. the eccentric G.
for the purpose shown and described.
Eight: The shaft R. in combination with the eccentric Q. the
eccentric rod P. the toothed sector f. the spur gear e. and the
valve O. for the purpose shown and described.
Ninth: The horizontal shafts R. SS. the spur gear and pinions, T,
T, T2, T3 and the balance or ball wheel U for the purpose shown
Tenth: The crank wheel V in combination with the rod W1 the
compensating lever W2 for the purpose shown and described.
Eleventh: The air cock Z in combination with the pipe X2 for the
purpose shown and described.
In testimony whereof I hereonto sign my name in presence of two
John W. Keely
John W. Keely, the above name petitioner being duly sworn deposes
and says that he verily believes himself to be the original and
first inventor of the new and useful Hydro Vacuo Engine described
and claimed in the foregoing specification that he does not know
and does not believe that the same was ever before known or used,
and that he is a citizen of the United States.
Click to enlarge :
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