"For ten years Keely's demonstrations were confined to the liberation, at will, of the energy he had "stumbled over" while experimenting on vibrations in 1872; and his efforts were put forth for the construction of "the perfect engine," which he had promised to the Keely Motor Company. He made the mistake of pursuing his researches on the line of invention instead of discovery. All his thoughts were concentrated in this direction up to the year 1882. Engine after engine was abandoned and sold as old metal, in his repeated failures to construct one that would keep up the rotary motion of the ether that was necessary to hold it in any structure. Explosion after explosion occurred, sometimes harmless to him, at other times laying him up for weeks at a time.
Two more years were lost in efforts to devise an automatic arrangement, which should enable the machine, invented by Keely for liberating the energy, to be handled by any operator, and it was not until 1884 that steady progress was seen, from years to years, as the result of his enlarged researches. When Keely was asked, at this time, how long he thought it would be before he would have the engine he was then at work upon ready to patent, he illustrated his situation by an anecdote: "A man fell down, one dark night, into a mine; catching a rope in his descent, he clung to it until morning. With the first glimpse of daylight, he saw that had he let go his hold of the rope he would have had but a few inches to fall. I am precisely in the situation of that man. I do not know how near success may be nor yet how far off it is."
August 5th, 1885, the New York Home Journal announced that Keely had imprisoned the ether; and, as was then wrongly supposed, that the unknown force was the ether itself; not the medium of the force, as it is now known to be." [Bloomfield-Moore] [Ether the True Protoplasm]