"There are from twenty to thirty instruments to be patented in Keely's system of sympathetic vibratory physics. Months of valuable time are lost, which might have been occupied in preparations for the taking out of patents, had Keely's generous proposition been accepted as promptly as it deserved to be. The spiro-vibrophonic system alone requires eight or ten patents; the resonating system five or six more; the vitalizing six, which must be preceded by the setting up of a vibratory dynamo that would take weeks to construct and graduate. The sympathetic transmitting system will require months, with its adjuncts, to get into a patentable condition; and the sympathetic governor of course must be patented if the other instruments are." [Some Truths about Keely]
But let Keely speak for himself in reference to his work:- "In considering the operation of my engine, the visitor, in order to have even an approximate conception of its modus operandi, must discard all thought of engines that are operated upon the principle of pressure and exhausting, by the expansion of steam or other analogous gas which impinges upon an abutment, such as the piston of a steam-engine. My engine has neither piston nor eccentrics, nor is there one grain of pressure exerted in the engine, whatever may be the size or capacity of it.
"My system, in every part and detail, both in the developing of this power and in every branch of its utilization, is based and founded on sympathetic vibration. In no other way would it be possible to awaken or develop this force, and equally impossible would it be to operate my engine upon any other principle.
"All that remains to be done is to secure a uniform speed under different velocities and control reversions. That I shall accomplish this is absolutely certain. Some few years ago, I contemplated using wire as a connective link between two sympathetic mediums, to evolve this power as also to operate my machinery - instead of tubular connections as heretofore employed - I have only recently succeeded in accomplishing successful such change. This, however, is the true system; and henceforth all my operations will be conducted in this manner - that is to say, the power will be generated, my engines run, my cannon operated, through a wire.
"It has been only after years of incessant labour and the making of almost innumerable experiments, involving not only the construction of a great many most peculiar mechanical structures, and the closest investigation and study of the phenomenal properties of the substance "ether" per se, produced, that I have been able to dispense with complicated mechanism, and to obtain, as I claim, mastery over the subtle and strange force with which I am dealing.
"When my present process of adjustment is completed, the force, the mechanism, and all that pertains to it, will be fully explained in a theoretical exposition of the subject, with appropriate diagrams, which I shall publish to the world; through which medium, and my patents, when taken out, a knowledge of all that is required for its commercial employment will be more easily acquired than is the necessary skill required to enable one to safely operate a steam-engine.
"The power will be adapted to engines of all sizes and capacities, as well to an engine capable of propelling the largest ship as to one that will operate a sewing machine. Equally well and certain is it that it will be adapted as a projectile force for guns and cannons of all sizes, from the ordinary shoulder-piece to the heaviest artillery." [The Key to the Problems. - Keelys Secrets]