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Topic: Keely Chronology Stack
Section: Keely's Secret
Table of Contents to this Topic
12/16/1881 - The stockholders of the Keely Motor Company are a very unreasonable set of people. They have been furnishing M. Keely with money to complete his invention for the last six or seven years, and instead of enjoying that easy and elegant occupation they are growing tired of it. Although they have put many thousands of dollars into the treasury of the company-a place of deposit not wholly unconnected with Mr. Keely's pocket-and although the fact that there are now but $19 .48 in the treasury gives them the opportunity to fill it up again, they appear to be greatly dissatisfied. They have just held a meeting, and talked in the most inconsiderate and indelicate way about the great inventor. While they profess to have unlimited faith in the "motor" they demand to know something about it. Mr. Keely has hitherto refused to satisfy this demand. Indeed, the stockholders go so far as to assert that when they attempt to talk to him concerning his invention, with the hope of learning something about it, they are met "with deception and misrepresentation." This is, of course, incredible, for no disinterested and intelligent man who known M. Keely would think it possible that he should be guilty of deception and misrepresentation. Moreover, the stochhoulders themselves profess to have entire confidence in Mr. Keely, and they must see that to have confidence in a man who habitually deceives them is to the last degree unreasonable.
After having thus shown themselves to be both captious and unreasonable, the Keely stockholders proceed to inform Mr. Keely that if he does not confide the secret of his motor to some trustworthy man they will compel him to do so by law. They are afraid that the inventor will die and take his secret into the grave with him, thus leaving the stockholders with nothing but a quantity of useless machinery. They remind him that, according to his own account, his "generator" was perfected a year ago, and that his "multiplicator" is also perfect. Now is clearly the time for him to share the secret of the operation of his machine with at least one of the stockholders, but instead of so doing his whole mind is absorbed in the construction of "phenomena," six or seven of which are now nearly completed. It must be admitted that if Mr. Keely, while he is paid to perfect his motor, is employing his time in constructing costly "phenomena," there is some little reason for finding fault with his conduct. Nobody wants any "phenomena," so fas as is at present known, and Mr. Keely is not only wasting time, but is also wasting money in constructing large and unwieldy "phenomena" which are worth only their weight as old iron.
Between threatening to compel Mr. Keely to give up the secret of his "motor" and carrying out that threat there is a good deal of difference, as the Keely stockholders may find out. They may bring an actions in equity and the court may decide that Mr. Keely must give up his secret, but how can the court provide the stockholders with minds capable of comprehending the secret? Mr. Keely has several times described, not his secret, but his machine, and in every case the description was adapted to reduce a listener of the strongest intellect to gibbering idiocy. Yf nobody can understand his explanation of the machine, what chance is there that his explanation of his secret would be intelligible? We already know that Mr. Keely produces a cold vapor from water by means of vibration, and that by alternating positive and negative vibrations and mixing them with anthropomorphic and interconvertible strata he develops the power which moves his engine. This explanation, which only covers that part of his invention which he does not care to keep secret, is undoubtedly mild and harmless compared with the explanation which he would give of the entire process of generating and multiplying his motive power. No court, with any particle of humane feeling in its bosom, would venture to order Mr. Keely to subject his stockholders, or any one of them, to an explanation that would not fail to have the most disastrous results upon their sanity, and that would not convery a single intelligible idea.
The true course for the stokholders to pursue is to continue to put full faith in Mr. Keely; to supply him with all the money he may desire, and to cease to trouble him with questions. It would perhaps be wisefor them to stipulate that he shall not engage in the construction of "phenomena" except in his leisure hours and it his own expense; but as for trying to wrest his secret from him, such a course would be as unwise as it is unnecessary. All the stockholders need to do is to make as agreement with Mr. Keely that he will always carry his secret in his pocket during the day-time, and will leave it at night either under the door-mat or hanging from a nail in his bedroom. In case of his illness or death they would then know just where to find the secret, and with its help could carry on the motor business themselves. The secret is not a large one and is understood to be of the Yale pattern. In fact, it is nothing more nor less than the key of the door of the cellar underneath the room where Mr. Keely exhibits his motor, and as he cannot very well carry this key into the other world the stockholders meed have no fear that his secret will perish with him.