Keely's Difficulty.

To appreciate Keely's problem try seeing yourself in this scenario. Let us assume you live in ancient Rome, say around the time of Augustus. You have a scientific bend of mind and you are investigating the properties of water. You have read Heron's experiments with steam and you have vision. You know all there is to know (for that period) about metallurgy, engineering and heat. Suddenly you have an idea. You conceive the steam train. All the principles of creating such a train are clear to you. You know exactly how it will work.

Now try building one. How do you make steel track, how do you make pistons, wheels, valves etc. etc. And most of all how do you get people to give you the resources to build one, if you can even get them to understand the usefulness of building a train.

This is where Keely was at!

In one way Keely was lucky. He lived in a time where there were many backers of newly invented technology that hardly anyone understood. That the scientific community would oppose him was clear from the onset. That lot rarely accepts anything unless it is so obvious that it can't be ignored, especially when a new idea comes from someone outside that illustrious fraternity as it almost invariably does.

But this was not Keely's biggest problem. His main difficulty was that he was trying to build a helicopter with a stone axe.

In this lies the explanation why no-one we know of has been able to duplicate Keely's experiments to date.

Hopefully after this paper becomes known this will change.

In Keely's time there were no oscilloscopes, computers, frequency generators etc. etc. and since he essentially worked with sound he had to rely principally on his ear, a few instruments and his knowledge of harmonics, mainly understood by organ builders and musicians of his time.

We know that Keely was a gifted musician. That he had an intimate understanding of harmonic interreactions encountered in the building and tuning of organs is beyond dispute. His own writings and contemporary records show ample evidence of that.

In the absence of waveform generators, transducers, loud speakers, amplifiers etc. the only way he had to transmit acoustic waveforms to a body was through the medium of harmonic resonance.

This requires apart from perfect hearing, an extraordinary amount of skill in building the required structure. Few people possess this to the degree Keely did.

That he managed at all to build working machines is astounding, but, to me at least, it is not surprising that no-one to date has been able to duplicate what he did.

But is all of this necessary? In my view it is not, not anymore that is. We have far better ways of creating the conditions Keely sought than were available to him. But first we must understand what it was that Keely actually built.

I believe I know what he did and I will try to impart my analysis, as best I can, on the following pages.

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Hans von Lieven, copyright 1999