The Secret Revealed


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 tortoise-shell 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. Keely's 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. Levy's 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. Keely's 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 Papin's digester, if you can produce sufficient visilicate of saturnium? great care being taken to keep it perfectly dry; and it is claimed by a distinguished chemist that any motive power can be hypo-frustrated 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. Keely's 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.

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