In November 1884, Mr. Keely obtained a standard for progressive research in the success of an experiment, which he had tried many times before, without arriving at the result that his theories had led him to expect. One of those present, at the time that this test was made, afterwards wrote to Mr. Keely, to obtain an explanation of the dynamic force which had been witnessed, causing a small globe to rotate when two persons had taken hold of the rod together, with a firm grasp; one of whom was standing on a circular sheet of metal, from which piano wires stretched toward the globe, near enough to touch one of the plates of glass which insulated the ball. Mr. Keely replied "I cannot describe it other than the receptive conclusion of the two forces, positive and negative, coming together, seeking their coincidents and thus producing rotation by harmonious waves, not streams. You ask if sound waves had anything to do with the motion of the globe? Nothing; the introductory settings are entirely different. The ball ceased to rotate when I took your left hand in my right hand, while with our other hands holding the iron rod resting on the metal plate, because the receptive flows became independent of the circular chord of resonation as set up mechanically. The power of rotation comes on the positive; and the power of negative breaks it up." . . .
Encouraged by this confirmation of his theories, Keely pursued his researches with renewed vigour. At this time he wrote, "I am straining every nerve to accomplish certain matters in a given time, working from twelve to fourteen hours daily. Although in my illness I have had some peaceful hours in thinking over the fascinating points associated with the researches to which I am devoting my life, I have also had some very stormy ones in reviewing the many unjust insinuations and denouncements that have been heaped upon me by the ignorant and the base-hearted. My one desire has been the acquisition of knowledge; and, no matter how great the impediment thrown in my path, I will work without ceasing to attain my end. After struggling for over seventeen years, allowing scientists to examine my machinery in the most thorough manner, and to make the most sensitive tests, denunciations have multiplied against me. One charge is that I use sodium in my mercury, in the vacuum test. I have thought that I would never again make any effort to prove that I am honest but I am working in a new lead, and for the satisfaction of the few friends that I have I propose to show my introductory evolutions, in proof of the negatization of an etheric substance to produce vacuum. The mercury may be delivered to me by an expert: I will operate from an open mercury bath: using the most perfect mercury gauge obtainable, attached to the same sphere that the column is operated from. Professor Rogers, the highest authority we have, saw the operation of inducing these etheric vacuum and pronounced the result wonderful. He said that the scientific world would go down on its knees, if I produced only one pound of vacuum under the conditions named. I showed from one to fourteen lbs. during the evolutions. . . . As soon as I have been able to combine all the positive and negative forces of etheric vibration in the triple vibratory sphere-engine that I am now at work upon in short, as soon as I have completed a perfect, patentable machine, then my labours will cease on the Motor line; and after my patents are taken out I will devote the remainder of my life to Aerial Navigation, for I have the only true system to make it an entire success in the vibratory lift and the vibratory push-process."
It will be seen that, at this stage, Keely had no idea of giving up the engine; and was still as confident of ultimate success as in the beginning. There is no doubt that, had not the time arrived when the direction power of Providence led him away in quite another direction from the line that he was then working upon, his system for Aerial Navigation would have been lost to this century. "The heart of man deviseth his way, but the Lord directs his steps."
About this time Keely met with an accident. Under date March 22nd, he wrote, "It has been impossible for me to write, my right hand and arm were so severely strained, but I have not been idle. I have had time for reflection, and I have been setting up a key to explain vibratory rotation. I have also a plan for a device to be attached to the Liberator as an indicator to show when the neutral centre is free from its intensification while operating. In this way the dangerous influences will be avoided which present themselves on the extension of the vibratory waves that operate the gun. All the introductory details of the present engine are as perfect as is possible for the first lead. It is in the form of a sphere, about thirty inches in diameter and weight 800 lbs. Yesterday saw the pure, positive action of my new Liberator. Mr. Collier and his brother George were present, and witnessed thirty expulsions, made by myself; after which I had them produce the vapour, by imitating my manipulations; which they were unable to do with the old generator. They were very much delighted. To say that the last three weeks have been trying ones, is using very mild language to express what I have suffered from accidents, disappointments, etc., etc. I have been frozen in at my workshop; and all things seemed to go wrong; but my present success are as an anchor, which I thank God for, who, in His bountiful goodness, has carried me into a port of safety over tempestuous seas." Again, under various dates, Keely wrote:
"Unbounded success has crowned my new departure. I am now preparing new features that are necessary as adjuncts to denote the true condition, as regards safety in my different vibratory operations." "Without the aid sent me from on high there would have been nothing left of the discovery mechanically; nor would there now be a single foot-hold on which hope could rest for a completion of the Keely Motor enterprise." . . . "I had an accident to one of my registers this morning. It burst with a tremendous report, shaking things up in a lively way, but no other damage was done beyond that to the register."
"The draughts are nearly completed for the compound vibratory engine, and next week the work will be commenced and pushed forward with all possible speed. This is the machine for continuous operation. The Liberator is as perfect as is possible; and, if the outside adjuncts are in proper sympathy, my struggles will soon be at an end." . . ."All things are verging into a condition of perfection through the aid that I have received, but for which the science of vibratory etheric force would, as far as my researches are concerned, have been lost to the world. I feel that the world is waiting for this force; that this advance in science is necessary to keep the proper equilibrium in our age of progress.". . . .
"There are moments in which I feel that I can measure the very stars, which shine like Edens in planetary space; fit abodes for beings who have made it the study of their lives on earth to create peace and happiness for all around them. Is nature a mystery? No, God is in nature. I do not believe in the line, 'God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.' In my estimation. He moves in a very plain and simple way, if we will open our hearts to the understanding of His way. To the man who cannot appreciate the workings of nature, chemically and otherwise, God's ways may appear mysterious; but when he comes to know nature's works he will find simplicity itself in its highest order of expression.
"Could I have one wish, as to science, gratified, I would ask to live long enough to be able to appreciate even but one etheric variation in planetary evolution. It might take fifty thousand years to attain this knowledge, but what is that period of time when compared with the cycles that have passed away since this earth existed? Yes, in one sense, 'God does move in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.' " . . . .
"May 20th.- Yesterday was a day of trials and disappointments. It seemed as if nothing would work right. After labouring six hours to set my safety process, the first operation of the Liberator tore the caps all to pieces. I replaced them by a set of duplicates and set the Liberator down to the low octaves, when everything worked to a charm. Night was approaching and I left the workshop to get something to eat, returning about eight o'clock to re-conduct experiments, in order to discover if possible the cause of the sudden and most unexpected intensification. I followed up with great care the progressive lines until I reached the tenth octave and then liberated a score of times, yet no variation on liberator. Next, I made an attachment to my safety arrangement, and also to my strongest resonator to experiment on vibratory rotation with my shell; when, within two minutes, it attained a frightful velocity: then I suddenly retracted to the negative, bringing the velocity down from about 1500 per minute to 150. The operation was magnificent, lasting sixty-four minutes, when a second intensification took place, demolishing two safety-shells and one vibratory indicator. I was perfectly dumbfounded, and unable to account for such a phenomenon. It was then near midnight, but I had made up my mind not to discontinue until I had solved the mystery. After an hour's reflection, I set up a new position on the resonating wave plates in the forty resonating circuit on the base of liberator; and got a result which for purity of uniformity surpassed all experiments that I have ever made. I believe I have now struck the root of this difficulty, and that I shall be able to master it; and obtain continuity of action with perfect rotation."
"June 1st, 1885. - I am in a perfect sea of mental and physical strain intensified in anticipation of the near approach of final and complete success, and bombarded from all points of the compass by demands and inquiries; yet, in my researches, months pass as minutes. The immense mental and physical strain of the past few weeks, the struggles and disappointments have almost broken me up. Until the reaction took place, which followed my success, I could never have conceived the possibility of my becoming so reduced in strength as I am now. My labours in the future will be of a much milder character; but, before I again commence them, I must have a few days more of recuperation. I was so absorbed in my researches that I forgot my duty to myself, as regards the requirements of health, and I am now paying the penalty. It has been misery to me to have absorbed so much more time and capital than I anticipated; and without the heaven-sent aid which I have received the would have lost sight of me for ever." . . . .
"In view of the unjust comments is certain journals, I intend to withdraw entirely from all contact with newspaper men, to give no more exhibitions after the one which closes the series, and to devote all my time and energies to bringing my models into a patentable conditions. It is said that the New York reporters intended to denounce me before witnessing my last experiments. Certainly utter ignorance of my philosophy was displayed in their articles, but they were like the viper biting on the file, and only hurt themselves: for men who possess but a moderate degree of scientific knowledge have denounced them in turn as the most ignorant men they had ever come in contact with. They stated that I started with a power estimated at over one million pounds pressure to the square inch on the head of my liberator, a sheer absurdity. The rock I am standing on can no more be moved by a whirlwind of such attacks than the atmospheric disturbance of equilibrium emanating from a butterfly's wing in motion could blow down the rock of Gibraltar. I enclose a newspaper cutting: it was written by an engineer who has interested himself sufficiently in my work to be able to thoroughly understand my position." . . .
July 15th.-My researches teach me that electricity is but a certain condensed form of atomic vibration, a form showing only the introductory features which precede the etheric vibratory condition. It is a modulated force so conditioned, in its more modest flows, as to be susceptible of benefit to all organisms. Though destructive to a great degree in its explosive positions, it is the medium by which the whole system of organic nature is permeated beneficially; transfusing certain forms of inert matter with life-giving principles. It is to a certain degree and effluence of divinity; but only as the branch is to the tree. We have to go far beyond this condition to reach the pure etheric one, or the body of the tree. The Vibratory Etheric tree has many branches, and electricity is but one of them. Though it is a medium by which the operations of vital forces are performed, it cannot in my opinion be considered the soul of matter." . . .
"My safety arrangements (governors and indicators) for liberating are not working well; but I am labouring to attain perfection on these devices, and I hope soon to have them all right." . . .
"I have extraordinary powers, it is true, and I must use them to the best advantage; for I know they are the gift of the Almighty, who will, I feel sure, carry me to the end of the work which He has given me to accomplish." . . .
"I am positive that this year will terminate my struggles. My work is all progressing satisfactorily, and I am pushing everything forward as rapidly as possible." . . .
August 5th.- Mr. Keely wrote to one of his friends,-"I have met with an accident to the Liberator. I was experimenting on the third order of intensification, when the rotation on the circuit was thrown down in the compound resonating chamber, which, by the instantaneous multiplication of the volume induced thereby, caused an explosion bursting the metal casing which enclosed the forty resonators, completely dismantling the Liberator. The shock took my senses from me for a few moments, but I was not even scratched this time. A part of the wall was torn away, and resonators and vibrators were thrown all over the room. The neighborhood was quite lively for a time, but I quieted all fears by telling the frightened ones that I was only experimenting. I allowed everything to remain until Dr. Woods and Mr. Collier had seen the effect of the explosion."
The orders of intensification for accelerating dissociation would not be understood by any explanations that could be made, if unaccompanied by the demonstrations witnessed by the late Professor Leidy, Dr. Brinton, and others.
When the ether flows from a tube, its negative centre represents molecular sub-division, carrying interstitially (or between its molecules) the lowest order of liberated ozone. This is the first order of ozone and is wonderfully refreshing and vitalizing to those who breathe it. The second order, or atomic separation, releases a much higher grade of ozone; in fact, too pure for inhalation, as it produces insensibility. The third order, or etheric, is the one that has been (though attended with much danger to the operator) utilized by Keely in his carbon register to produce the circuit of high vibration that breaks up the molecular magnetism which is recognized as cohesion.
The acceleration of these orders is governed by the introductory impulse on a certain combination of vibratory chords, arranged for this purpose in the instrument, with which Keely dissociates the elements of water; and which he calls a liberator.
In molecular dissociation one fork of 620 is used, setting the chords on the first octave.
In atomic separation, two forks: one of 620 and one of 630 per second; setting the chords on the second octave.
In the etheric three forks: one of 620, one of 630, and one of 12,000, setting the chords on the third octave.
My first system is the one which requires introductory mediums of differential gravities, air and water, to induce disturbance of equilibrium on the liberation of vapour, which only reached the inter-atomic position and was held there by the submersion of the molecular and atomic leads in the 'generator' I then used. It was impossible with these mediums to go beyond the atomic with this instrument; and I could not dispense with the water until my liberator was invented, nor reach the maximum of the full line of vibration. My first system embraces liberator engine and gun.
"My second system of dissociation I consider complete, as far as the liberator of the ether is concerned, but not sufficiently complete, as yet, in its devices for indicating and governing the vibratory etheric circuit, to make it a safe medium.
"My third system embraces aerial and submarine navigation. The experimental sphere intended to test the combination of the positive and negative rotation is nearly completed.
. . . "I have done everything that I could do to demonstrate the integrity of my inventions, and I will never again allow my devices to be submitted to examinations; not that I am afraid they will be stolen, but I do not wish to have the construction of my improved mechanical devices known until my patents are taken out. Nor will I ever again make a statement, specifying the time when certain work will be finished. If I thought tomorrow would end all my struggles on this system, I would not say so. I have been a great sufferer from my inability to keep my promises, fully believing in my power to keep them, and now I must and will prove that all is right before I promise.
. . . "The work on the vibratory engine is progressing rapidly. I spend an hour or two every day at the shop where my work is being done, examining every part of it critically as it is being put together. The safety arrangements which I am having attached to my liberator will greatly improve it. Its operation will now be conducted with a gum bulb instead of a violin bow, the pressure of which gives the introductory chord of impulse that vitalizes the whole machine. The chords will all be set in progressive sympathy from the first octave to the fortieth. . . .
"I have been writing out some of my theories as to sound and odour. These two subjects have intensified me considerably of late, on account of the peculiar position they occupy in their lines of sub-division; as also the peculiar laws that govern them in their dissemination. I see the time approaching when I will be able to write up my system of the true philosophy of nature's grandest force and have at my control the proper apparatus to analyze and demonstrate all the progressive links of transmittive sympathy from the crude molecular to the high etheric." . . .
"December 17th. 1885.-The setting up of the circles for computing the different lines of etheric chords, in setting the vibratory conditions for continuity, requires close study. I feel convinced that a perfect solution of my difficulties will follow when this part of the work has been completed; and that, before many weeks have passed, a revelation will be unfolded that will startle the world; a revelation, so simple in its character, that the physicists will stand aghast, and perhaps feel humiliated by the nature of their efforts in the past to solve certain problems. . . . I find my chief trouble in chording up the masses of the different parts composing the negative centres. The negative centre is included in the one-third volume of shell or sphere, starting from the neutral axis or point of suspension. This point of suspension only becomes perfect when the rotation is established on the sphere. One hundred revolutions per minute is all the velocity required to neutralize the gravity of the central third with the velocity of the vibratory circuit at one hundred thousand per second. Taking all matters into considerations associated with the mechanical part of the enterprise, the month of January ought to find all completed, ready for sympathetic graduation. But I fear to be too sanguine when I remember the loss of time and the interferences from exhibitions to which I have been subjected in the past. I feel more and more the great importance of devoting all my energies to the great task that Divine Power has ordained me to perform." . . .
At the close of the year 1885, everything seemed to promise full and complete success during the coming year. Mr. Charles Collier, the patent lawyer, shared Keely's confidence in the near completion of his "struggles." The stockholders were enthusiastic, and the stockholders were on the qui vive, anticipating a great rise in the shares of The Keely Motor Company. Mr. Collier had written in August to Major Ricarde-Seaver*: "The Bank of England is not more solid that is our enterprise. My belief is that the present year will see us through, patents and all."
The journals and ceased to ridicule, and some of them were giving serious attention to the possibilities lying hidden in the discovery of an unknown force. In 1886, Mr. William Walsh, editor of "Lippincott's Magazine," accepted a paper on the subject, publishing it in the September number. It was entitled Keely's Etheric Force.
This was the first article accepted by any Philadelphia editor, setting forth Keely's claims on the public for the patience and protection which the discoverer of a force in nature needs, while researching the unknown laws that govern its operation. Up to this time Keely had been held responsible for the errors made in the premature organization of a Keely Motor Company, and the selling of stock before there was anything to give in return for the money paid in by inventors.
*This electrician took the first box of stored electricity from Paris to Sir William Thomson (now Lord Kelvin) in Edinburgh; and as early as in 1884 he had convinced himself that Keely had grounds for his claims as a discoverer of an unknown force in nature.