John Keely

John Keely

John Ernst Worrell Keely was a US inventor from Philadelphia who claimed to have discovered a new motive power which was originally described as "vaporic" or "etheric" force, and later as an unnamed force based on "vibratory sympathy", by which he produced "interatomic ether" from water and air.
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  • 1898
    Age 60
    Keely died at his home in Philadelphia from pneumonia on 18 November 1898.
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    The first meeting of the Keely Motor Company's stockholders following his death was held on 20 December 1898.
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  • 1897
    Age 59
    On 18 June 1897 Keely demonstrated his new etheric engine to the General Manager of the Manhattan Elevated Railway, the Chief Engineer of Western Union, and a representative of the Metropolitan Traction Company.
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  • 1895
    Age 57
    On 24 December 1895 Mrs Bloomfield Moore said that due to the position taken by the managers of the old Keely Motor Company at the annual meeting, and the delay on the part of the stockholders in accepting his proposition for a reorganization, Keely had decided not to take out any patents on his inventions, and would instead adopt a royalty system in dealing with his inventions commercially.
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    Scott made several visits to Keely's workshop, beginning on 9 November 1895, and was shown many demonstrations.
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    Also in November 1895, Mrs Moore invited Addison B. Burk, president of the Spring Garden Institute to make an inspection.
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    Keely again informed the directors of his company in early November 1895 that "before the end of the year" he would "positively be all through with his work to prove conclusively that" he has devised "a practical commercial working engine" operated by his new force.
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    In June 1895 the trade journal Electricity published a challenge to Keely, in which they said that they would undertake to repeat every phenomenon produced by Keely within 60 days.
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  • 1889
    Age 51
    At the Keely Motor Company's stockholders' meeting in December, a report was read from Keely in which he discussed the difficulties he had had with the Board of Directors during 1889 and said that while the work of "graduating" or adjusting his provisional engine had not progressed as rapidly as he had expected, no serious obstacles had presented themselves, and there were no difficulties affecting the principle or "essence" of his work.
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    On March 28, 1889 Keely's counsel announced that the inventor had the "missing link" which was needed to make the "vibratory resonator and ethereal generative evaporator" a success.
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    Finally, on 28 January 1889, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania handed down an opinion reversing the order committing Keely to prison for contempt, and ordered his discharge.
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  • 1888
    Age 50
    Finally, on 17 November 1888, Keely was jailed in Moyamensing Prison for contempt of court for refusing the court order to "operate and explain the mode of operation" of the Keely Motor.
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    On 3 January 1888 an injunction was granted against Keely on behalf of complainant Bennett C. Wilson, who said that in 1863 he had entered into an agreement with Keely, whom he had originally engaged to varnish furniture.
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  • 1887
    Age 49
    The stockholders of the Keely Motor Company met on 14 December 1887, and expressed their confidence in Keely's ultimate success.
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  • 1886
    Age 48
    On 26 March 1886 Keely performed a demonstration before a committee of scientists and engineers from New York, where he obtained a pressure of 2,700 psi apparently by using a single pint of water, and then doubled the pressure by adding more water.
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  • 1885
    Age 47
    On 6 June 1885 Keely gave what he called "an exhibition" of his motor at his workshop at North Twentieth Street, Philadelphia.
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  • 1884
    Age 46
    On 20 September 1884 Keely demonstrated a "vaporic gun" at Sandy Hook to a party of Government officials.
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    When the promised stockholders' meeting was held on 1 February 1884, another postponement was announced at Keely's request.
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  • 1883
    Age 45
    At the annual stockholders' meeting on 12 December 1883 a letter from Keely was read out, in which the inventor said that he could not see why he might not fulfil the shareholders' expectations in the next two months and suggested that the stockholders' meeting be postponed to 1 February 1884.
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    On 28 August 1883, at the monthly meeting of the Company's directors, it was announced that Keely's engine would be ready for operation around the first week in September, and that a final inspection of it by the Trustees would be conducted on 29 August, at which the stockholders were expected to be present.
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  • 1882
    Age 44
    The annual meeting of the Company's stockholders on 13 December 1882 heard a report from Boekel in which he stated that what Keely claimed to have discovered was "the fact that water in its natural state is capable of being, by vibratory motion, disintegrated so that its molecular structure is broken up, and there is evolved therefrom a permanent expansive gas or ether, which result is produced by mechanical action".
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    However, Keely was overruled by Judge Pierce on 1 April 1882, who ordered him to "make known his process in the way indicated in the bill filed by the Keely Motor Company".
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    Keely was reluctant to reveal his secrets, and filed a demurrer on 20 January 1882 to the bill in equity presented against him by the Keely Motor Company's stockholders.
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  • 1881
    Age 43
    On 14 December 1881 the stockholders of the Keely Motor Company held a meeting at which a report was read that complained that while they had faith in the merits of Keely's invention, the inventor was unreasonably secretive of the principles and operating methods of his apparatus.
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    In 1881, Keely met Clara Jessup Bloomfield Moore, the wealthy widow of a Philadelphia industrialist who had the year before established the Bloomfield Moore art collection.
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  • 1878
    Age 40
    Today, Philadelphia has forgotten all about its infamous resident. Even Keely's old house has completely disappeared and the site is now a private parking lot for the property next door. A model of Keely's engine was in the collection of the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and an "Etheric Force Machine" of his dating from 1878 is in the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont.
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  • 1875
    Age 37
    The New York Times reported in June 1875 that Keely's new motive power was generated from cold water and air and evolved into a vapor "more powerful than steam, and considerably more economical".
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  • 1874
    Age 36
    On November 10, 1874, Keely gave a demonstration of an "etheric generator" to a small group of people in Philadelphia.
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  • 1872
    Age 34
    In 1872, Keely invited scientists to attend a demonstration at his laboratory at 1422 North Twentieth Street Philadelphia, of a machine which he asserted was motivated by a new and hitherto unknown force.
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  • 1869
    Age 31
    The result of the inspection was to make known only whether the present Keely motor was or was not the same apparatus that he was alleged to have assigned to Wilson in 1869.
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    Wilson alleged that he had only recently become aware that the machine called the "Keely motor" was the same as the one constructed in 1869 and assigned to him.
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  • 1837
    Born in 1837.
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