The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Memorable Magazines (11): Perpetual Motion Journal

January 14th, 2018 · No Comments

Irvin R. Barrows published five issues of the Perpetual Motion Journal from 1967 to 1971. This issue contains “Will the 21st Century Repeal the Laws of Nature?” by Jay Mendell (reprinted from The Futurist), the fourth installment of a 1906 article from Cassier’s magazine, reproductions of patent applications from 1929 and 1931, and articles on magnets and patent applications by Gaston Burridge and R. G. LeTourneau.

Barrows apparently intended his magazine for inventors, and hoped one of his readers would finally come up with the impossible. The patents he includes are not really perpetual motion motors: Arthur Powell’s 1929 “Permanent Magnet Magnetic Motor” is powered by a battery, but is supposedly efficient and inexpensive; Georges Bougon’s 1931 “Magnetic Device” simply propels an iron ball along a line of horseshoe magnets.

It’s easy to dismiss these attempts to sidestep physics, but there are interesting ideas here, and a certain fascination to all those experiments with wheels and magnets. I’m tempted to build that Bourgon device, although I can’t imagine what I’d do with it after watching the ball roll down it a few times. (Please click on it for legibility.)

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

Tags: Technology

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