Sympathetic Vibratory Physics - It’s a Musical Universe
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What is Claimed for it. Twenty thousand pounds of vapor to the square inch.

How the invention is regarded by engineers - air and water harnessed.

From our own Correspondent Philadelphia, Thursday, June 10, 1875.

NYT - The mechanical and scientific world has been greatly excited of late by the discovery of a new motive power by a Mr. John W. Keely, of this city. The lately discovered motor is generated, as the gentleman claims, from cold water and air, and evolves into a vapor more powerful than steam, and considerably more economical. It is proposed by this new invention to revolutionize the world, and turn machinery topsy-turvy. Steam will be a thing of the past, and the wonderful power of this new creation will supply all the needs of man, for the uses to which steam is now applied. Just what this vapor is, and how it is made the discoverer refuses to make plain or divulge his hidden secret until he has letters patent taken out in all the countries of the globe which issue patent rights. This service alone will cost about $30,000, and will not be completed until three or four months hence. Mr. Keely is very reticent on the subject of his discovery, and referred your correspondent to his attorney, Charles B. Collier, Esq. The latter gentleman said that a private view of the working of the motor had been made on the 10th of November, 1874, before a number of capitalists, and that only three weeks since another exhibition had been given before a number of gentleman from the New-England States. These latter were so well pleased with the modus operandi, and believed so firmly in the ultimate superaedure of steam by the new power, that they formed a stock company, purchased the patent right for the six New-England States, and paid $80,000 cash immediately for their share in the invention, and are ready to forward $200,000 more as soon as called upon. They will organize a company with a capital of $3,000,000, and be ready to manufacture the engines and necessary apparatus as soon as the proper patents are secured.


Mr. Keely alleges that the discovery of this power was purely accidental. Up to within a short time he was a poor man, but, having a wonderful degree of natural mechanical skill, be devoted all his time for the past fourteen years to experiments with water with a view of procuring a motive power from it. He was engaged upon an idea of his own regarding the force of columns of water one day when he accidentally discovered the vapor which he has harnessed. He studied the subject, ascertained how it was generated, learned its power, and thenceforth applied himself solely to the perfection of this idea, working night and day for a number of years, until his efforts were crowned with success. The apparatus by which this power is made is termed a "generator" or "multiplicator," and the vapor is then passed into a "receiver," and from thence to the cylinder box of the engine, where it drives the pistons and sets the engine in motion. The "generator" is about three feet high, made of Austrian gun metal, in one solid piece, and will hold about ten or twelve gallons of water. It is four or five inches thick, and made to [handle] the very heavy pressure of 20,000 to 30,000 pounds of vapor to the square inch. The inside is composed of a number of cylindrical chambers, connected by pipes, and furnished with cocks and valves. The "reservoir" is about six inches in diameter and forty inches long, and is connected with the "generator" by a pipe which is about one inch in circumference on the outside, with a bore of about one-eighth of an inch. Connected with both "generator" and "receiver" is a "standpipe" of brass, about two and a half inches in diameter and three feet high, having a spherical chamber at the bottom, made in two parts, by flanges, and connected to the pipe uniting the "generator" and "reservoir". The vapor generated in the multiplicator is conveyed to the reservoir. Which contains numerous pipes, and from there, by a "feed-pipe," to the engine. The engine is of peculiar construction, but the inventor claims that the vapor can be attached to any ordinary engine now in use, with very slight alteration.


Mr. Keely claims that this apparatus will generate cold vapor from water by mechanical appliances, without the use of chemical. The water used is common river, spring, or well water. And does not undergo any previous preparation, a rubber hose from an ordinary hydrant to the generator being used as a means of conveying the liquid. The peculiarity of this vapor is that it can be used to the best advantage at a pressure of from 20,000 to 30,000 pounds to the square inch. To the mechanical mind this seems impossible. Yet such is the claim of Mr. Keely, and it has been attested that such is the fact by gentlemen who are held to be mechanical experts of the highest grade. Yet with all this immense pressure at his command, the inventor is enabled to control his engine, and run it with the same case and facility as engines are now run by steam. He has tried the "motor" upon an engine of 20-horse power, and it defied the efforts of all the gentlemen present to stop the flywheel. The water used, after it has passed through the "multiplicator," has no perceptible smell or taste, and seems as pure as when it first entered, thus showing conclusively that no secret chemical process is employed to carry out the object designed. The parts of the generator and multiplicator are all made of welded iron, of great thickness and strength. The connecting pipes are also small and of great thickness, and are oxidized and planished so as to prevent the force of the vapor escaping through the pores of the metal. Steam could not pass through the connecting pipes which are used on this apparatus, since the bore is only about the dimension of knitting-needle.


With this immense power at hand one would naturally fear an explosion most disastrous in its results. But such it is claimed cannot be the case, since when the vapor comes in contact with the atmosphere, it ceases to expand, and instantly goes back to its original state - namely air and water, therefore, in this regard it is less dangerous than either gunpowder or steam. The vapor is thinner than air, and will not cut the metal in escaping or passing through the throttle valve. It cannot be exploded or caused to flame by the application of heat to it. A lighted candle has been held at the mouth of a cock, and the force of the air did not even extinguish the light, and did not have any offensive odor - in fact, none at all was perceptible. The rapidity with which this vapor can be generated is almost inappreciable. "In five seconds," said Mr. Keely. "I can supply 2,000 pounds of vapor to the square inch, and enough to run a train of ten cars from Philadelphia to New-York and return." It seems almost instantaneous, so short is the time consumed. The vapor has a damp, cold feeling. There is not the least noise perceptible in its generation. To apply this motor to any engine now in use will first require a dispensing of the boiler, as the receiver and generator will take its place; secondly, the firebox must be removed as a useless adornment; and, thirdly, in locomotives there will be no use for the tender. The power will be supplied to the engine, and the train will move off at any rate of speed which may be desired, provided all that has been claimed for the "motor" does not fail. With a Keely "motor" attached to a steamer, the voyage of the world can be made without coal, but as the action of saltwater, in producing the vapor has never been tested, it remains to be seen whether or not a vessel would not be obliged to fill up the space occupied by coal-bins with water-tanks. Just here the invention appears most wonderful. It is said that with about an ordinary tumbler of water a 20-horse-power engine can be made to run an hour and perform its full service. "Seeing will be believing" in this matter, and the sooner Mr. Keely makes his first public exhibition of the invention will the public at large and the world in general come to regard the name of Keely as they do that of Fulton or Watts. Mr. Keely says that the first public exhibition will be upon the Pennsylvania Railroad, when he proposes to take a train from this city to New York and return. He will have the "generator" stationed at West Philadelphia fill the "receiver" which accompanies the engine and take vapor enough to draw twenty cars to New-York and back. The passage of the train will be silent. There will be no cinders, no escaping steam, or dropping of coals to set fire to bridges. The engine will be smaller than those now in use, but will be of greater horse power. He says that the generator can either be carried on the train or left at a depot, according to the wishes of the engineer. It is small and compact and takes up very little room. For street cars, as a motive power, this invention, it is claimed, will undoubtedly become popular. The cost of the apparatus will range from $500 to $2,500, according to the size and finish desired. It is evident from the character of the gentlemen who are interested in the "Keely Motor Company," and the amount of money they have advanced, that they regard this invention as the wonder of the nineteenth century. They all speak favorably of Mr. Keelys personal integrity and capabilities, and have even gone so far as to lift him up from his position of pecuniary embarrassment and purchase and furnish a large house for his use, and pay him large sums of money for his personal expenses. About four millions of dollars are already involved in the success of this new invention. The gentlemen interested in the scheme in New-York are Mesers. E. T. Throop, Charles G. Francklyn, Charles Lamsom, Sergeant & Cuttingworth, W. T. Hatch, William W. Wright, W. B. Meokor, J. J. Smith, A. H. Elliott, John M. Williams, and J. S. Andrews.


From the Bulletin, June 28, 1875.

Until we have this practical demonstration any expression of judgments is premature. If Mr. Keely can prove his case he is entitled to his opportunity. Mean while it is not an easy matter to convey an intelligible conception of what the alleged new discovery is, divested of the scientific technicalities. The motive principle is represented to be the expansive power of carbonic acid. This important compound, under a pressure of 36 atmospheres, at temperature of 32 degrees becomes liquid; and when the pressure which retains it in the liquid state is renewed, the rapidity of the evaporation and the enormous expansion of the vapor are such as to preclude a degree of cold under which acid solidifies, forming a white concrete substance possessed of very extraordinary properties. Prof. Faraday was the first who liquefied carbonic acid, but it was first treated as a solid by W. Thilonrier. At common temperature and pressures water absorbs its own volume of carbonic acid; under a pressure of two atmospheres it dissolves twice its volume, and so on . A correspondent of the Savannah News, who has made numerous and expensive experiments, has no doubt of its power as a mechanical agent, and adduces the following progressive augmentation of its expansive properties by increased temperatures:

At 5 Fahrenheit the pressure in pounds per square inch is 372. At 10 Fahrenheit the pressure in pounds per square inch is 403. At 20 Fahrenheit the pressure in pounds per square inch is 460. At 30 Fahrenheit the pressure in pounds per square inch is 560. At 40 Fahrenheit the pressure in pounds per square inch is 697. At 45 Fahrenheit the pressure in pounds per square inch is 1,080.

Heretofore the great scientific difficulty has been to know how to utilize this wonderfully expansive power - to put the harness on it, so to speak, and to work it as Prof. Morse has harnessed electricity and compelled it to carry messages. Now, Mr. Keely claims, this difficulty has at length been conquered. The advantage claimed over steam and the steam engine are many, not the least of which are economy, safety, and easy control. If applied to navigation the propelling power, it is said, would not cost more than $5 to run a steamer from Savannah to New-York; and, as the necessary machinery will not take up one-fourth part of the weight and room of the boiler, engine, and fuel of equal power, another advantage would be additional carrying capacity and space for freight.


4/25/1881 - There is no longer any secret as to the Keely motor, except in connection with the mere details of the affair. A lecture was delivered in this City some little time ago in which the motor was fully described. The diagrams by which the lecture was illustrated were of the most complicated and convincing character, and any who saw them and noticed the innumerable pipes and cocks of the generator, and the imposing simplicity of the engine, could not help being convinced that the Keely motor is as genuine and satisfactory as the ablest perpetual motion machine ever patented. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm with which the public staid away from the lecture prevented it from attracting general attention, but a scientific journal has just reproduced the lecture, diagrams and all, and the vindication of the Keely motor is now complete. The distinguished inventor has always maintained that his motive power was derived from the expansion of a cold vapor obtained from water. Scientific persons have mocked at this claim. They said they were acquainted with a hot vapor derived from water and called steam, and also with a cold vapor popularly known as fog, but that Keelys vapor was not steam, for the reason that it was alleged to be cold, and could not be fog, because fog does not expand, and a fog engine would be ridiculous. But they did not dream of the effect produced upon water by vibration. Mr. Keely has discovered that by causing water to vibrate at a certain rate he can convert it first into small pieces of the kind usually known as chunks, and finally into its ultimate globules, which when separated occupy a far greater space than when united, and, of course, exert a pressure upon whatever vessel may contain them. In his generator half a pint of water passes through the successive steps of chunk, spray, and mist, until it becomes a highly elastic vapor, exerting a pressure of ninety thousand pounds to the square inch, which is obviously pressure enough to work a moderate-sized engine. Precisely how the vibratory movement is communicated to the half-pint of water and how the water is finally converted into an elastic vapor consisting of minute globules are question of detail. The important fact is that Mr. Keely does convert his half-pint into cold vapor by mean of vibration, and that with this vapor at a pressure of ninety thousand pounds he can keep in motion a beautifully simple engine. The generator contains so many cylinders, tubes, and fine steel spiral springs that any man who is not a born infidel must believe in it as soon as he looks at it.

The battle between Mr. Keely and the scientific persons will now rage over the question whether vibration can convert water into cold vapor. There are many facts which prove that vibration can exercise an immense influence in altering the status of solid substances. There is an experiment in this connection which has been made with great success by thousands of mothers, and can be repeated at any time. You take a small and solid child and subject him to the vibrations of a slipper wielded by a strong hand. In the course of less than ten seconds that child will be dissolved in tears. The experiment has never been pushed far enough to secure the complete dissolution or deliquescence of the child, but it has sufficiently demonstrated the influence which vibrations can produce on the most compact and coherent infant. To cause any part of him to dissolve into tears is to show the power of a vibrating slipper, and to essentially demonstrate the truth of the principle of the Keely motor. Were the child on whom the slipper experiment has been made to be handed over to Mr. Keely, there is not least doubt that he could place that child in his generator and subject him to vibrations which would finally convert him into cold vapor. Of course, the Keely motor will be fed with water instead of infants, the former being much the cheaper sort of fuel; but what a grand field for the utilization of surplus infants Mr. Keelys invention has opened!

Since the principle of the Keely motor was first discovered the inventor has made half a dozen different engines, each one of which has been simpler and better than its predecessors. In its present shape the engine contains "one hundred and fifty pints in a descending vibratory scale."

"six tuning forks" - though five would probably be sufficient - "a compound vitalizing medium," a "vibratory elliptic," a "positive wave plate," a "spiraphone box," together with several "positive and negative tubes," and as many sets of "triple vibratories" as are necessary for transmitting "simpathies."

There is no possible deception here. The parts of the engine above described will command the attention of every engineer. The man who could not only discover the principle of the Keely motor, but could discover all these names and apply them to real picces of iron and steel, cannot be regarded as an impostor. Let no man say that an engine so tremendously scientific in the nomenclature of its parts and withal so wonderfully simple will not work. Not only will it work a pressure of ninety thousand pounds, but there is good reason to believe that a pressure of not more than seventy-one thousand pounds would put it in motion, and produce at least three revolutions per minute.

There will be no more delay in furnishing Mr. Keely with funds to perfect his invention. It is now in a condition to do all that he has ever claimed that it would do, but he has seen his way to carrying certain of its details to a still higher degree of perfection. He wants to add a "compound deodorized vaporized shaft" to the generator and to enlarge the"antinomian cylinder" of the engine by prolonging it at the end and inserting in its "negative casing" a "monophysite tube," studded with thirty-six "sabellian holes," and terminating in a "galvanic manichuan chamber." With this improvement he expects to obtain seven hundred additional revolutions per minute, and to reduce the supply of water needed in the generator to five-sixths of a pint. By all means let the money for this grand improvement be forthcoming, and we shall soon find the steam engine and the corn-fed horse superseded by the new motor, and our wives and children will cry for it.


12/16/1881 - The Keely motor, which everybody thought was definitely dead, appears to be very much alive indeed. One day last week Mr. Keely gave an exhibition of it to a large number of invited guests, who went away exceedingly well satisfied. The exhibition was held in two rooms, one of which was filled with "generators" and the other with a compound Keely engine, the compoundness of which - if the expression may be allowed - consisted in the fact that it was constructed so as to work equally well with positive or negative energy. Mr. Keely began the exhibition by generating, with the sole help of half a glass of water, a pressure of 15,000 pounds, and after this had been sufficiently admired, he "vivified" his motive power with a tuning-fork, and so set his engine in motion. He did not make the attempt to vitrify his positive energy with a horse-rake or a tortoiseshell comb, but in time we may look for even this magnificent evidence of his inventive genius. The engine worked well, and the spectators were fully convinced of the truth of Mr. Keelys claim to have invented a new motor, but, curiously enough, they seem to have gone away in ignorance that the inventor had accidentally and unwittingly revealed the real secret of his famous motor.

The doctrine of the correlation of forces teaches us that no force need ever be wholly lost, for the reason that it is always capable of being converted into something else. For a long time the cornet player has seemed to unscientific persons to afford a refutation of this doctrine. What becomes of the enormous energy which he bows into his brass instrument? It is not converted into heat, or motion, or electricity, or anything else of a satisfactory or unsatisfactory nature. To all appearances it is totally wasted. The cornet player is thus popularly regarded as one who wastes an immense amount of force that is never converted into anything. It has been estimated that the energy wasted by Mr. Levy in playing an average cornet solo is sufficient to drive an ocean steamer three thousand miles at the rate of twenty miles an hour, but what has discouraged people and filled them with horrible doubts as to the truth of science is the fact that no way of thus utilizing an athletic cornet player has yet been devised. One blast upon Mr. Levys cornet ought to be worth seventy-three tons of coal, according to the best estimate of the relation between energy and heat, but so far cornet energy has seemed to be inconvertible.

Now, when Mr. Keely was exhibiting his engine, he used, as has been said, the vibration of a tuning-fork as a means of vivifying his motive power. Not only this, but he also proved by experiment that subsequent vibrations of the tuning fork - which, it should be mentioned, was one of gigantic size - would instantly convert the energy from a positive to a negative state, or vice versa. Repeatedly, while the energy was working under a pressure of positive energy, Mr. Keely sounded the tuning-fork, and thereby transformed the energy into negative energy, the effect of which was to instantly reverse the engine. This experiment filled the spectators with enthusiasm, but, strange to say, they did not seem to perceive that Mr. Keelys tuning-fork betrayed his secret.

Nothing can be plainer than that the Keely motor is nothing more than the energy set free by the vibration of the tuning-fork. What the inventor calls the process of "vivifying" the motive power is simply the conversion of tuning-fork energy into motion. We need not imagine that Mr. Keely intends to deceive any one by his talk about vivifying the motive power. Like all other inventors of new and wonderful motors, he is a modest and ignorant man, who knows nothing of the subtleties of science, and very possibly does not in the least degree comprehend the nature of the machine which he has built. A very little reflection will show that he is mistaken in thinking that his tuning-fork vivifies his motive power. It is as well established as any fact can be that a motive power, no matter what it may be, cannot be vivified, and that even if it could be, it would instantly become amorphous an utterly unfit for food. You may precipitate a motive power by pouring telluric acid upon it; you may vitalize it under pressure in a Papins digester, if you can produce sufficient visilicate of saturnium great care being taken to keep it perfecly dry; and it is claimed by a distinguished chemist that any motive power can be hypofrustrated by the well-known Cartesian process; but never since the world began has the vivification of motive power been conceded to be possible.

What really takes place in the Keely motor when the alleged vivification of the motive power is in process is the conversion of the energy of the tuning-fork into motion. The Keely energy is run not by half a glass of water, or by an unknown and vivified motor, but by the energy of the tuning-fork, and the value of Mr. Keelys discovery lies in this, that it gives us the means of utilizing cornet players. If a tuning-fork, no matter how large it may be, will set in motion a large Keely engine, there is no doubt that a cornet, when played by an eminent virtuoso, would drive the engines of an ocean steamer. What has hitherto been a source of woes unnumbered - including the death of many sensitive dogs - to the human race will henceforth prove an inestimable blessing. We shall build vast ships supplied with Keely engines, in the engine-rooms of which cornet players will be chained and compelled to ceaselessly play the "Turkist Patrol." The energy of the cornets will be converted into motion in the cylinders of the engines, and, driven by this mighty force, the ships will cleave the billows and indulge in other and appropriate nautical games. Thus ocean navigation will become vastly cheaper than it now is, and when steam is superseded by cornets, we shall have no more disastrous boiler explosions, and the worst accident that can happen to the machinery will be the rare explosion of a cornet player who attempts a violent staccato on a high note when the Captain signals for increased speed.


NYT - PHILADELPHIA, March 17, 1884. - All the subordinates engaged on the construction of the Keely motor, including Albert Chance, the head mechanic, who has worked upon the motor for seven years, have been discharged. "This," said Secretary Schuellerman today, "is simply because their work has been accomplished and we have no further use for them. Today Mr. Keely will begin focalizing and adjusting the vibrators. He will henceforth operate entirely alone. This work of adjustment may take several days. A perfect adjustment of all the parts is necessary. This is a delicate operation, but for Mr. Keely it is not a difficult one, and as soon as he obtains one revolution, be it ever so slow, his task practically is finished. I see no reason why we may not expect to hear almost any day now that the engine is running. The next regular meeting of the Directors will be on Tuesday evening, 25th inst., when dates will probably be fixed for a private exhibition of the engine, and a subsequent exhibition in some suitable place will follow for the benefit of the stockholders and the general public."

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