Pittsburg Dispatch April 26-1890

Dr. Joseph Leidy on the Value of Keely's Recent Experiment.
Where the Inventor First Got the Idea That Resulted in

Philadelphia, April 25. - The following is a copy of a letter addressed to Prof. Dewar, of the Royal Institution of Great Britain by H. Oxnard Ward:

"Dear Prof. Dewar - As I have already informed you, I carried out your wishes in reference to Prof. Rowland, of the Johns Hopkins University, as far as the extending to him of an invitation to witness some of Mr. Keely's experiments in sympathetic vibration was concerned. Prof. Rowland was not able to witness any demonstrations whatever, on account of an accident which had happened to the disintegrator; and he could not fail to have formed an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Keely from all that transpired on that occasion. I next renewed the invitation to Prof. Barker, which had already been extended to him by Prof. Leidy, both these gentlemen being professors in the Pennsylvania University. Prof. Barker was not able to be present.

"The series of experiments which have been given for scientists, mechanical engineers and others, since my return, closed on the 12th. The steady progress, from week to week, since the accident to the disintegrator was repaired, has given beautiful evidence of the wisdom of the plan adopted by Mr. Keely in the winter of 1888-'89, which led him to turn his attention to a class of experiments of quite a different nature from those which up to that time had been given for commercial ends; experiments which have not failed to convince all who at tended the entire series that Mr. Keely is dealing with an unknown force, the laws governing which he is still in partial ignorance concerning. He admits now that he cannot construct a patentable engine to use this force until he has mastered the principle, and now a fund, with the approval of scientists, has been appropriated for his use to this end; upon the one condition that he will waste no more time upon what is, known as "the Keely motor engine" until he has demonstrated his ability to control reversions and in all points to govern the revolutions.


His last engine was built to exhibit the practical nature of his discovery to capitalists, the managers of "the Keely Motor Company" (which company died a natural death many years since) hoping thereby to raise the price of its stock and to be able to furnish Mr. Keely to the end with the funds that he needed. But the exhibition of this engine was premature and did not succeed. There will be no further need of such exhibitions in future, and it is, as it always has been, in the interest of the stockholders that the stock should not rise until the engine is completed; then the stock will rise to remain raised. From this time the interests of the stockholders will not be sacrificed, as in the past, to the interest of stockjobbers. The experiments given surpassed preceding ones in the purity of the demonstrations, the instruments being in a better condition. In demonstrating what seems to be the over coming of gravity, for aerial navigation, Mr. Keely used a model of an airship weighing about eight pounds, which, when the differentiated wire of silver, platina, and gold was attached to it, communicating with the sympathetic transmitter, rose, descended, or remained stationary midway the motion as gentle as that of thistledown floating on the air.

The experiment of illustrating "chord of mass" sympathy was repeated, using a glass chamber 40 inches in height, filled with water, standing on a slab of glass. Three metal spheres, weighing about six ounces each, rested on the glass floor of the chamber. The chord of mass of these spheres was B flat, first octave; E flat, second octave, and B flat, third octave. Upon sounding the note B flat on the sympathetic transmitter, the sphere with that chord of mass rose slowly to the top of the chamber, the positive end of the wire having been attached, which connected the covered jar with the transmitter. The same results followed the sounding of the note in sympathy with the chord of mass of the other spheres, all of which descended as gently as they rose, upon changing the position to the negative.


"J. M. Willcox, Ph. D., who was present, remarked: "This experiment proves the truth of a fundamental law in scholastic philosophy, viz: that when one body attracts or seeks another body, it is not that the effect is the sum of effects produced by parts of one body upon parts of another, one aggregate of effects, but the result of the operation of one whole upon another whole."

"The experiments of the 12th closed with the disintegration of water, 12 drops of which we saw dropped, drop by drop, into the small sphere attached to the disintegrator, alter exhausting the air by suction. A pressure of over 20,000 pounds to the square inch was shown to the satisfaction of all present, and when Mr. Willcox accepted Mr. Keely's invitation to take a seat on the arm of the lever, adding his 260 pounds to the weight, applause broke forth. Mr. Keely showed control of the ether (interatomic subdivision) by graduating the escape of the residue, as he allowed it to discharge itself with a noise like the rushing of steam to an expulsion as gentle as the breathings of an infant. The three subdivisions acted simultaneously, showing instantaneous association and dissociation. The sympathetic globe was operated upon, 120 revolutions a second ceasing the instant that the wire was detached.

"I regret to say that Prof. Ira Remsen, who wrote to me that he has a keen sense of justice, was prevented from witnessing any one of this series of experiments, as he intended doing; nor have I been able to get the opinion of any physicist in whom I felt any confidence; but Mr. Keely is satisfied to have the support of such men asJ. M. Willcox, Ph. D. and Prof. Leidy, LL. D. Dr. Leidy was awarded the Lyell Medal in 1884, when in London, and the Cuvier Prize in 1888, from the Academy of Sciences in France. He is known in America not only as possessing the broadest of minds and the the gentlest of natures, but as holding in his heart that love for, and reverence of, truth and justice which alone can confer the power of forming a correct and just judgment.


"I would like to have you make known in England that Mr. Keely is indebted to Macvicar's 'Sketch of a Philosophy' for turning his attention, in 1834, to researches on the structure of ether, and to Mrs. F. J. Hughes, a niece of Darwin (not Mrs. Watts Hughes), for the suggestions in her work on 'Harmonies of Tones and Colors Developed by Evolution', which led him into the line of experiment that now enables him to show on a disc the various colors of sound (each note having its color), enabling him to demonstrate in Mrs. Hughes' own words that 'the same laws which develop harmonies develop the universe.'"

Dr. Joseph Leidy has written the following:

"After having had the opportunity of witnessing a series of experiments made by Mr. John Keely, illustrative of a reputed new motor power, it has appeared to me that he has fairly demonstrated the discovery of a force previously unknown to science. I have no theory to account for the phenomena observed, but I believe Mr. Keely to be honest in his attempt to explain them. His demonstrations appear to indicate great mechanical power, which, when applied to appropriate machinery, must supersede all ordinary appliances."

The following additional statement is from James M. Willcox, Ph. D. author of "Elemental Philosophy."

"After having witnessed on several occasions and under favorable circumstances Mr. Keely's experiments in what he terms sympathetic vibration, I am satisfied that he has made new and important demonstrations in physical science. He his made manifest the existence of natural forces that cannot be explained by any known physical laws and has shown that he possesses over them a very considerable control."

J. W. Reynolds, M. A., writes: "Those acquainted with scientific progress must be struck with the fact that of late the more brilliant achievements have been made in dealing with the unseen. The microscopist, the chemist, questioning the ultimate particles of matter, those who occupy themselves with the mysteries of molecular vibration, bear the victorious wreaths of successful discovery, and show that every atom teems with wonders no less incomprehensible than those of the vast and bright far-off suns."

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