Sympathetic Vibratory Physics - It’s a Musical Universe
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NYT - 12/15/1887 - Very likely it did not occur to Mr. Keely when he calmly announced to the stockholders of his Motor Company yesterday that he had long since abandoned his notion of utilizing his mythical "etheric" and "vaporic" forces, and was engaged in developing an entirely new force which he had discovered, based on "vibratory sympathy," that he was confessing that he had been receiving money on false pretenses ever since he abandoned his original plans. Yet that is precisely what this adventurer in the field of invention has been doing. The confiding stockholders have been paying their money to secure the development of a force which Keely claimed to have discovered, and about which they understood about as much as he did, and he had no legal or moral right to divert funds so contributed to experiments in any other field, without calling the contributors together and asking their consent. THE TIMES has for years denounced this man as a bogus inventor, but his financial backers have stood by him, and now he calmly tells them himself that he has been deceiving them for months and that he has given up the Keely motor, as it is known to the world, as a bad job. In other words he admits what this paper has all the time charged that his "etheric force" and his "vaporic force" are humbugs.

But Mr. Keely has another scheme on hand to develop a motor different from that on which he has claimed to have been engaged for so many years, and his stockholders, still trustful in spite of his confessed breach of their confidence, apparently mean to go on and continue to pour their money into his lap.. Now he is engaged in constructing a "sympathetic machine," based on "vibratory sympathy," which is to revolutionize the motive forces of the world. He has kept this scheme from his nearest friends until now, and not three months ago the English papers were being "worked" in the interest of the old motor, no hint of its having been abandoned being given at that time. At the meeting yesterday the Treasurer reported a balance on hand of but $24, proving that English capitalists had not bitten very greedily at the bait, and this may possibly account for Keelys sudden change of base and frank confession to his stockholders. He has had a "sympathetic machine" in the shape of a gullible public for so many years that it seems a pity that he should now go to the trouble of constructing a homemade article. But the "vibratory sympathy" has evidently "petered out," and Keely was obliged to claim some new "discovery" or go to work and make his living. It will be curious to note how long this new dodge remains productive and how soon Mr. Keely will be called on to "discover" a new "force."


PHILADELPHIA, Jan, 20, 1882 - To day John W. Keely filed a demurrer to the bill in equity presented against him by the stockholders of the Keely Motor Company. The demurrer is entirely technical and gives a number of reasons why the court should not afford the plaintiffs the relief they seek.


PHILADELPHIA, April 1, 1882 - Judge Pierce today overruled John W. Keelys demurrer and ordered him to make known his process in the way indicated in the bill filed by the Keely Motor Company. This is to compel him to divulge his secret of the motor.


PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 30, 1883 - The Board of the Directors of the Keely Motor Company held a meeting tonight. Mr. Keely made a statement explaining his progress, and stated that he was constructing a steel chamber to contain the vapor, and that when this was completed an exhibition would be given. The Directors voted Mr. Keelys explanation very satisfactory.


11/1/1884 - Keely states: "I have the only true system of aerial navigation. My airship will be operated by the vibratory lift and the vibratory push process."





NYT - 12/16/1884 - Lieut. E.L. Zalinski stood, smiling and serene, on the piazza of his house at Fort Hamilton yesterday afternoon. He was carefully attired in brand-new apparel, much of which, he declared, had come into his possession when Mr. Cleveland was announced as future President of the United States. Indeed, as the Lieutenant vigorously asserted, Fort Hamilton had gone straight for the Democratic ticket, and was consequently in a high state of exultation. Only one unfortunate officer had ventured to bet on Mr. Blaine. The wretched man was now the subject of universal compassion, and Lieut. Zalinski had delicately suggested that he buy his hats and clothes by the case, as the quantity which he will be forced to purchase in order to satisfy his creditors would fully justify a wholesale transaction.

"And now," said Lieut. Zalinski, forgetting the absorbing subject of the recent election, "I may tell you that I have been to Philadelphia to visit the redoublable Keely of vaporic force notoriety. I have bearded the great untamed in his own den." LIeut. Zalinskis eyes twinkled at the pleasant recollections he apparently recalled, and the seemed to be enjoying himself immensely.

"After the experiments at Sandy Hook, as I suppose you know," he said, "there was some little controversy. The papers discussed the subject, and the old opinion in relation to Mr. Keelys alleged force did not seem to have suffered any very striking contradiction. Well, the Keelyites had been using Col. John Hamiltons name very considerably, and at last they invited him to come to Philadelphia, to bring with him some of his friends, and to give his opinion of Mr. Keely in that illustrious gentlemans own workshop. Col. Hamilton was ill. He was unable to avail himself of the kind invitation. He however, recollected your humble servant, and seemed to think that I was the fittest man to take his place. The Keely people seemed to think that I was prejudiced against the great Philadelphia wonder, and that had better not come. I think I succeeded in showing them that not one particle of prejudice existed in my mind; that if Mr. Keely was what he claimed to be I would be the first man to acknowledge it, and that if he had a new scientific agent I wanted that agent as much as he did. To be brief, Col. Hamiltons place was ceded to me. I went to Philadelphia."

If Lieut. Zalinskis genial features could have been guilty of wearing a sardonic expression, they certainly wore it at that moment. His smile would certainly have made an interesting analysis.

"Well," he continued, "Mr. Keely and his friends treated me right royally, and I certainly had every inducement to open my heart and believe. I did open my heart, but - Well, let me relate things chronologically. I viewed Mr. Keelys efforts in science for some time, and then I felt my time had come. I noticed that Mr. Keely was unwilling to have his force measured honestly and fairly. There was a large reservoir which he was going to attach to an engine and make the locomotive run. You are aware that he claims his ability to generate force in a few seconds to any extent. Well, I suggested to him that it would be fairer and a much more complete test of his power if he would first open all the cocks of this flask, so that everything in it could escape, and then recharge it by his generator.

"Ha! ha!" laughed Lieut. Zalinski. "He said he could not do it. It would take two hours, and the flask had been carefully negatized. Please note the word negatized. It is a unique expression. Well, that is proof positive that his claim of being able to generate force in a few seconds fell to the ground, isnt it?

"Well, I remained down stairs while the engine to be worked was downstairs. Mr. Keely appeared to be very uneasy as I prowled about the downstairs regions. Finally, he came to me and announced the starling fact that there was an accidental break in a pipe, and that he must put off the experiment, as he could not work the engine on that account."

Lieut. Zalenskis mirth interrupted him at this point. "Now," he resumed, "when I started for Philadelphia I was careful to take with me a 10,000 pound gauge. That was my little equipment. This, as I suppose, you know, or if you dont must take my word for it, is a standard instrument. Well, as soon as the Keely people saw this gauge they said to me. You had better not show it to Keely. It would him! I wanted justice. One of his partisans, however, informed Mr. Keely that I had brought this gauge with me, and the great man replied that he would not use it. In the course of his experiments he said he had got 50,000 pounds pressure. But - observe the but - he then remarked that he had broken all the pressure gauges he had. Consider I have spoken those last words in italics, please. I then quietly rejoined that I had a pressure gauge which was only capable of registering 10,000 pounds. Said I, "I would like to have you put it on, and break it for me." Mr. Keely made no immediate reply to this. Shortly afterward, however, he remarked, with an air of feeble assertion, "I do not believe in pressure gauges, any how.""

The subject appeared to be excruciatingly funny to Lieut. Zalinski, "It is to be noted," he continued, "that not a single series of experiments was carried on continuously. A full and proper test of the correctness of his claims as to the power he is said to possess would be to start afresh outside of a shop, generate the force, and use it continuously, not only for a few seconds, but incessantly for several hours; in fact, for a day or more, under competent supervision.

"Dont think that this was not suggested to him. That would be doing me an injustice," said the lieutenant, laughing. "I suggested it to Mr. Keely. But noer a word said he. I am quit convinced that the gentleman who are supporting Mr. Keely honestly believe that he has a power. But he has been working at this alleged power for years and years and if he really does possess it, surely he ought to be able to utilize it now. Much that he did at Philadelphia smacked of the legerdemain business, and the spectators were not allowed to examine all the details of the business, even to that extent which a well-regulated of his reputation to allow.

"For instance, Mr. Keely made a globe revolve by means of a tuning fork. All the world wondered. That was all there was to it. Its enlightenment was deemed necessary. When he fired his gun much of the mechanism which was ostentatiously shown at Sandy Hook was omitted. More than that, he also omitted all that hocus-pocus tapping of the cylinders, which at Sandy Hook made the spectator imagine that he was going to conjure a few hundred yards of [ectoplasmic] ribbon from his mouth in the most approved style. He certainly indulged in a great deal of inexplicable manipulation, and I have no idea what he meant by it except the hocus-pocus idea."

"Now," said Lieut. Zalinski, "I have been informed that a gentleman interested in the Keely motor concern has offered to give me $1,000 gratuity if I could accomplish as much as had been done by Mr. Keely at Sandy Hook. This offer has not been presented to me in tangible form, but I dont mind telling you that I will perform the experiment without compensation, asking simply the loan of the plant used at Sandy Hook, or funds sufficient to construct one, which shall be outwardly a counterpart of Mr. Keelys apparatus. The flash used may readily contain a pressure of 2,000 pounds per square inch and much more. The velocities attained would indicate a possible pressure of about 700 pounds per square inch, when the diaphragms were broken and the shot expelled. The volume of the bore of the gun, and the probable chamber fondly supposed to contain vibrators, vitalizers, and such remarkable scientific articles, was so small, compared to the volume of the compressed air contained in the flasks used, that the percentage of reduction of pressure was very small. A considerable number of rounds could readily be fired without a reduction of the pressure below that required to burst the vulcanite diaphragms. Increasing initial velocities may readily be obtained by placing either more or stronger diaphragms in the gun. In this way the pressure accumulated in the gun chamber will be greater before rupture of the diaphragms can take place, thus giving the higher velocities of projection."

Lieut. Zalinski spoke very deliberately, and his technicalities had been evidently carefully considered.

"I question Mr. Keelys ability," he resumed, "to fire the gun continuously for 100 rounds, maintaining the same high velocity without discharging his flask. Should the trial be made, as previously proposed," said the Lieutenant, "I would suggest that it be arranged to commence the experiments sufficiently early in the day in order that there may be ample time for a satisfactory continuance of the firing. This was not the case at Sandy Hook, as you are well aware. It would also better establish Mr. Keelys claim to an increasing rather than decreasing pressure if a place were provided in the flask where a standard pressure gauge, furnished by some disinterested persons, could be attached. Dont forget the disinterested persons, please," added the Lieutenant, laughing.

"One more point. As a guarantee that the interior - shall I call it arrangements? - of the gun have not been changed, so as to make the conditions more favorable, and also for purposes of direct comparison. I would like Mr. Keely to bring his flask charged with the so-called etheric force and fire at first. I will then recharge the flask with compressed air - I stick to my compressed air - and produce similar phenomena. The relative force imparted to the projectors can be measured either by penetration into wood, or other media, by ranges obtained under a given elevation, or by the measurement of initial velocities. As the vaporic force is so simply generated - ahem! - it would appear to be a slight matter for the company to take steps for the institution of this trial, and thus demonstrate practically Mr. Keelys ability and their own faith in his power to produce transcendent results.

"Science is not easily revolutionized nowadays. Something more serious than tapping on cylinders and necromantic airs are required to satisfy the world that it is in the possession of a force which has hitherto escaped the attention of learned men. Mr. Charles B. Collier has criticised my statements rather harshly. He has denied the conrrectness of my remarks and questioned my ability to attain the same results as those attained by Mr. Keely by means of compressed air. All that would have been more valuable if the Keely people had acceded to my request when it was first urged, and permitted me to make the trial when I first placed myself at their disposal.

"But," continued the Lieutenant, with an affable smile, "I have been to Philadelphia now and can still smile in derision. I repeat my offer and dont want the $1,000 which the interested individual has been stating that he is willing to bestow upon me. Virtue is its own reward. So will compressed air be in this case. Ha! Ha! And the energetic gentleman laughed in the same strain in which the cat was heard when she feelingly exclaimed, Ha! Ha! I have eaten the canary!"

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