This is the full text of the author's notes for a talk delivered to the very large audience that attended the session on 'Repression of Inventions' at UNCONVENTION '96, as organized by FORTEAN TIMES and held in London, England on Saturday 20th April, 1996.
The reason this is chosen as the 'KEYNOTE ADDRESS' to open these Web pages will be explained in a Discussion Note at the end of this discourse. Our subject is 'ENERGY SCIENCE' in the context of generating useful power from the thermodynamic condition of our space environment. However, these Web pages reveal far more than a glimpse at the prospect of a new technology which can solve the world's energy problems and avoid pollution. In penetrating the barriers of energy science we expose the secrets of creation on a universal and a microscopic scale. Those processes of creation are powered by the same action that delivers the excess power in the electrodynamic and ferromagnetic devices that will be at the very heart of our power generators in the years ahead. The source of that energy is the aether, 'AETHER SCIENCE' being the theoretical discipline which gives foundation for the technological discipline of 'ENERGY SCIENCE'. The subject is vast in scope and the theme I was asked to speak about when invited to give the following talk, though chosen for me by the organizers is as good a place as any from which to start. I hope it will prove interesting.
I was rather surprised to be invited to come here today and speak to you about 'The Repression of Inventions'. I have not expressed views on the subject before. The topic concerns the deliberate restriction on the use of an invention. This implies exercise of restrictive powers, as by the Government, but I think there is a more popular belief that major corporations sometimes buy inventions which might threaten their business and keep them from being used to the public good.
In my retirement from gainful employment with a major corporation I am not at all interested in the politics of these matters but I have become interested in inventions which can help to solve the world's energy problems and the need to reduce pollution. I therefore realize that a revolutionary discovery in the energy field can have such impact that one could wonder whether an oil company, for example, might contrive to suppress such an invention and deprive us from its benefit. My guess is that their initial reaction on hearing about such an invention would be more an exercise in curiosity and that, by the time that turned into fear about business outlook, the news about the invention would have spread and it would be too late to keep the discovery secret.
The repression I fear, on the energy front, is that which has other roots well planted in the fertile soil of what I can best describe as 'human nature'.
It is a human reaction of experts in the energy field to pour scorn on anyone who dares to challenge the conventional threshold which limits what is deemed possible in energy terms. There is a line that must not be crossed. Whoever dares to mount such a challenge can risk being seen as a Don Quixote tilting at a windmill and attempting the impossible.
So what I have to say will be focused on that theme and I would ask that you take note that I am not here talking about my problems or the problems of the individual inventors, but your problems, the problems ahead that we all face together if there is no breakthrough invention on the horizon that can ease our energy worries and allow us to stop the use of nuclear power.
Now, I have to mention patents, because the way to get business people interested in an invention, besides demonstrating it working is to secure some patent protection. Neither inventors nor those in authority who can take inventions forward can expect to benefit from their efforts and their investment without securing some patent protection.
Here I do urge you not to see patents as 'repressive'. I did not choose the title of this talk! They are the very opposite of that because they involve a contract with the Government, one respected on an international scale, by which a monopoly limited to a period of years is conferred in return for the open publication of details sufficient to implement the invention. So, if a patented invention is 'repressed', you, the public, could easily inspect the public records, see what it is that we are losing out on and ask the necessary questions. I could, of course, wish that the patent system was more effective, but one needs to keep in mind that it really does work, and it has held its ground for a century in the treaty arrangements of international politics.
So I suggest that an invention is not to be endorsed as such until the inventor secures a patent and 'repression' has to be seen more as a lack of action than a withholding of something from the public. However, there can, on occasion, be deliberate obstruction with the public standing by and watching something they cannot understand. Almost always, the inventor has trouble getting anyone to take an interest in his invention.
To put things in perspective, I will begin by indulging in a little reminiscence and tell you about the way some inventors try to project their ideas.
36 years ago I was hired as the new Patent Manager at IBM's Head Office in London. We were busy enough working on the hundreds of inventions in process through the Patent Office without having to worry about the inventions offered by outsiders, but we were attentive and polite to any would-be inventor who knocked on our doors. My first visitor in that capacity popped in off the street, Wigmore Street. In those early days IBM had its Head Office just behind Selfridges, a principal department store in Oxford Street. He introduced himself as being a member of MENSA and as having a very high intelligence quota. Then he digressed to ask me how I was getting on in my new job. Eventually he got to the point. Yes, he had made an invention. Yes, he understood that our company policy was not to accept the confidential disclosure of inventions offered by strangers. Yes, he knew he ought to file a patent application before talking to us, but he really had something so wonderful to offer that would revolutionize IBM's typewriter business. Then he said that he would not disclose his invention to us there and then and that all he wanted was to borrow my secretary for two weeks and she would come back and be able to vouch for the merit of his invention.
When I then rose to accelerate his departure he explained that he had devised a new language which would require a new keyboard lay out which would be more efficient because it only had ten keys. In saying this, he looked attentively at his eight fingers and two thumbs. I thought he had in mind some kind of stenographic machine. But, no, what he had 'invented' was a new language based on ten characters! We were all expected to learn a new language. That sort of idea is not patentable and I could not imagine IBM succeeding in an effort to sponsor the elimination of the English language.
When I terminated the meeting he departed with the comment that I had only said what my predecessor had said four years previously and that he had only popped in to see me to kill time while his wife was shopping in Selfridges.
I dare say that I could be accused of suppressing his invention, but only in the sense that I decided that IBM was not interested and if I did wrong I hope I will be forgiven!
Every Patent Manager can tell many such stories. I will very briefly mention three from my prior employment in the London Patent Department of a major Engineering Company.
One Friday afternoon the company received a two-line telegram which read "If you do not send 5,000 pounds by return, I will not tell you my invention". It was from Ireland, but a little while later there was a communication just as humorous from Australia about an idea for electrocuting rabbits. I remember it because it had no proper address. It was mailed to England addressed to 'The Company that made the Canberra'. That was the name of a bomber aircraft back in those days. The gist of the invention was the idea that when a rabbit popped up from a rabbit hole it would interrupt a light beam, causing a photocell to sense the presence of the rabbit and thereby cause a bell to ring. That would frighten the rabbit which would then withdraw and seek to escape by running to another exit hole. The electrocution device located at that hole was then to be triggered with a delay set according to the distance to the other hole and the known speed of travel of the rabbit, so that the rabbit would be duly killed. It was asserted that our engineers would have the technical skills needed to design such a device. Now, on the face of it, this communication was not intended as a joke, but you will agree that it ranks as one of the many inventions that does warrant 'repression'.
The last inventor encounter that I will mention here was more serious. It dates from 1955. An elderly German gentleman was shown into my office. He explained that he was very senior, having been a chief engineering designer of U-boats during World War II, and, though what he had to offer needed the attention of the company's Managing Director, he said he was willing to speak to me in spite of my lowly position, just to secure introduction to the Company's top management. Then he produced three letters by way of displaying his credentials and he folded each in turn as he presented them, one by one, across my field of view so that I could only read the signature on the letter. "You know Albert Einstein?", he said, as my gaze saw Einstein's signature. Then followed one signed by Max Planck and after that one signed by Heisenberg, both renowned physicists. That was enough to tell me that if they concerned something he had invented, his invention had been disclosed several years earlier. When I did a check later I found that, though Max Planck had lived well into is 80s, he had died in 1947.
Next, fully knowing the answer to his question, he said: "You make diesel engines? Telephone the factory right away. Tell them to stop production. My invention will replace all such machines."
Eventually he produced a copious set of design drawings backed by calculations of thrust forces and reaction forces on turbine blades. He was talking about a gas turbine but he said it was one that could operate on a closed cycle, meaning that the gas was circulated around inside the engine and there was no exhaust. Now a gas turbine works by turbine blades which operate to compress the gas before it is heated further by combustion in a middle chamber and then it harnesses the power of the expanded gas to drive the main turbine blades. (In my engineering upbringing a 'gas turbine' was a developing technology distinct from that of the 'steam turbine'.) My German visitor said he had designed a machine which developed a thrust force without needing any exhaust. If used on an aircraft it would have been a jet engine with no jet! On the face of it this was impossible and here I was confronted by extensive calculations by an expert who well understood thermodynamics and he was saying that there would be a thrust force if the engine was built. (As an aside here I note that I was not being blinded by scientific technicalities. I had graduated with high honours in my engineering studies and the thermodynamics of heat engines had been one of my final test subjects. But, equally, I was well versed in the physical principles which are embodied in Newton's laws of mechanics. I also knew from my then-recent professional qualification in patents that there was a class of 'invention' that was denied patent protection - that which purports to offer prospect of 'perpetual motion'.)
My reaction to all this was to appear passive but yet sufficiently interested to be sure I understood exactly what he was saying about his design, intimating that we would consider his proposal and advise him of our interest.
He left his data with me 'to pass on for consideration by our engineering management', but there was no need for that. When I later scanned through his analysis, looking for the fatal flaw that had to be there, somewhere, I could see that he had introduced flow channels for recirculating gas and omitted to allow for the fact that, besides the axial thrusts on the turbine blades, there are reaction forces set up when gas goes around a U-bend and is involved in pressure changes in those feedback flow channels. Those reaction forces would cancel any forward thrust. His invention would not work but, in line with usual practice, it was our company policy not to engage in argument about the merits of an outsider's invention. He was duly informed by letter that our production facilities were so committed that the company just could not undertake any involvement with his invention. (I could add here that there had been an earlier encounter with an inventor by one member of our patent staff who had rejected an inventor's proposal by letter telling him why it would not work. The response had been an invitation to a duel, albeit one which, on closer reading, meant a willingness to engage in a public debate on the merits of the invention. However, that had been enough to confirm the policy to which I was adhering.)
In having taken no action to have our visitor's invention proposal reviewed by engineers of our gas turbine section, it could be assumed that I had acted in a repressive way and perhaps unfairly. Yet I was doing my job to the best of my ability and, indeed, there are certain legal dangers in passing on outside inventor's ideas to technical departments within a company without having in place certain contractual understandings. Yet I assure you that, had a meritorious invention crossed my desk in this way, it would have been looked at with more positive interest.
Curiously, by a quirk of bad fortune, Mother Nature has done a little repression herself, because some months ago I had a tidy-up of my papers at home and now I cannot lay my hands on the Coler documentation when I need to in order to prepare these notes. I am therefore speaking from memory, but, because of a separate record I kept, which included a drawing, I can quote the reference of the official document should anyone like to check it. It is the subject of a British Intelligence Committee Report: B.I.O.S. Final Report No. 1043: Item No. 31, entitled: 'THE INVENTION OF HANS COLER, RELATING TO AN ALLEGED NEW SOURCE OF POWER'. It was eventually, after declassification, available from the Department of Scientific and Industrial research, but presumably it is in quiet repose somewhere in the Government's public archival records.
The report is that of two experts, one U.K. Government scientist and one Norwegian army scientist, sent to Germany to see Hans Coler demonstrate the very substantial excess energy that he could generate from magnets when subjected to special current excitation conditions. The report explained how testimony from German professors confirmed that the invention did work and did generate power in a mysterious way. Evidence on that was part of the report, but the really fascinating aspect of this was that Hans Coler had, owing to the War (World War II), lost access to the equipment needed to give a demonstration. The necessary components were therefore brought in from England by those visiting scientists. Then, closely watched by the scientists, Coler wound coils around the magnets, made connections and assembled an array of six magnets in a loop with a small spacing between their poles and, lo and behold, the apparatus began to deliver power to light bulbs used as a load.
The two scientists were there for several days making repeated observations and making detailed drawings and notes about the set-up, all of which are reported in that official report. The Coler invention had been seen as warranting promotion to help to sustain Germany's energy needs during the war-time adversity. The report was put under British Government official secrecy and, having eventually surfaced, one can now read that the report recommended onward development and expert investigation of the device because it did perform to generate electricity with no evident input source of power. The problem, of course, was that neither those scientists, nor the German professors who had seen Coler's earlier devices working, could understand the principles involved. One might even wonder whether Coler himself understood what he had discovered!
[HERE MY LECTURE NOTES REQUIRED THAT I SHOW SOME FIGURES ON AN OVERHEAD VIEWER AND TALK ABOUT HOW THE WINDINGS CONNECT THROUGH THE MAGNETS. AS I WILL BE INCLUDING ELSEWHERE IN THESE WEB PAGES, A FULL LECTURE ON WHY THE COLER INVENTION REALLY WORKS, I WILL JUST PRESENT HERE THE FIGURE 2 WHICH APPEARS AT PAGE 31 OF BRITISH INTELLIGENCE OBJECTIVES SUB-COMMITTEE TRIP REPORT NO. 2394 (BIOS TARGET NUMBER: C31/4799.]
I see the Coler invention as a mystery still needing solution. I only heard about it after I had myself addressed an energy conference in Canada in 1988 by declaring that I was beginning to see a way of tapping energy from the aether by exciting magnetic cores in an electric motor in a certain way. Someone who had heard about my talk was kind enough to send me a copy of that Hans Coler report which by then had found its way into the network of individuals interested in this emerging new energy field. So, I leave the Coler question as an open issue, by saying that I do see this as a 'repressed invention', at least until someone assures me that an organ of the British Government or some other such authority did probe deeper into the technology indicated in that secret report and reached a definitive conclusion on the Coler mystery. Possibly, with nuclear power on the horizon, the attentions of those looking for new energy sources in the aftermath of the war were diverted away from the Hans Coler situation. More likely, however, any committee which looked into the subject would adopt a consensus view that what was claimed could not be viable as it was contrary to long standing experience, so concluding that the file ought to be closed with the mystery unsolved.
[Note, not part of the Fortean presentation: When eventually I did acquire access to another copy of the Coler report I found a reference to patents in a sentence at the bottom of its page 2, under the heading The "Stromerzeuger":
In 1925 Coler showed a small (10 watt) version to Prof. Kloss (Berlin), who asked the Government to give it a thorough investigation, but this was refused, as was also a patent, on the grounds that it was a "perpetual motion machine". ]
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