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Topic: Keely Chronology Stack
Section: Where Keely Got His Idea
Table of Contents to this Topic

NYT - NEWARK, Dec. 29 ,1884. - In adition to what appeared in THE TIMES to-day in reference to the Keely motor, a Press reporter has learned some interesting facts. The idea of a motor, Baker, the machinist, avers, was given to Keely in this city as long ago as 1807, when Dr. George Q. Prindham, then of Newark, but now of Philadelphia, constructed a machine in many respects like the Keely motor. It was built at the fire engine works of Gould Brothers. Keely, Baker says, got the idea by haunting the shops of the firm. Since that time the firm has undergone some changes, and is now working under the tutle of George & Eberhardt. Mr. Eberhardt was interviewed by the reporter to-day. He said he certainly remembered a machine like the one which Baker claims was made in the shop of Gould Brothers.

"We made the machine for Dr. Prindham, and he spent considerable money and time on it. I also recall that one part of the machinery called for a powerfull screw of chilled steel and that we found considerable trouble in bringing it to perfection. The man Baker I cannot recall, but there is a brother of Dr. Prindham employed in the machine shop. I will call him out for to you question.

The young man came, clad in his workman's blouse and with the marks of toil on his hands and face. The circumstances were explained to him and he smiled. "Yes, I remember it all very well," he said. "The Baker you speak of is, I think, very likely A. Beckert, a German we had here. He was employed on work of the kind you mention. It was my brother who tried to get the machine first brought out. A man named Scarttergood one day introduced a tall, lean down Easter to him and said that the Yankee had a wonderful patent, but that he hadn't money enough to bring it out. He wanted to form a stock company, but my Brother said he had money enough to bring the thing out, and together they started on it. My brother often went into ecstasies over the invention, and said it was a big thing and could not fail of being successful. He often told me that all he need do was to put in a quart of so of cold water and the thing would go and be as powerful as a Cortiss engine, while only occupying one-hundredth part of the space and costing only a few hundred dollars."

"Now I remember," said Mr. Eberhardt, who was an attentive listener, interposing at the point. "He intended turning all the shafting in this shop with this power. As you see, it occupies the whole block in front, and to a considerable distance back. The inventor, the long, lean man, whose name I cannot now recall, said that it had the power of 100 horses at least."

What was the appearance of the machinery?" inquired the reporter.

"Well, it was an elaborate affair, with a big cylinder, like the description of Keely's machine. It had a small engine attached to it. He used to put some cyanide of potassium into the pipes and make the thing go, which it would for a short time. Then it would stop and something would be declared out of order and the doctor would have to shell out again. Finally, my brother gave it up in despair and would have no more to do with it. It cost him $300 for the making of the machine lever, and for the other parts of it - the patent, and all that - he must have paid out $700 or $800 more. Finally, he threw the whole up and--"

"And," said Mr. Eberhardt, laughing, " I believe there are some parts of it around here, and much more of it has since been burned up and used."

"Do you remember the name of the patentee?" asked the reporter.

"I do not." Mr. Prindham said. "I am of the opinion, however, that the machine is the same one that is now at work in Philadelphia. It is very likely that the inventor who caused the doctor to invest in it is now with Keely working the same racket in Philadelphia."

"Was Keely ever here in these works?"

"Yes, I have seen him around the shop, I think. He was in Newark certainly, but where there are 175 men on one floor of a shop it is almost impossible to remember the names of those who have worked here and left. But I am of the opinion that Keely has been around the shop at one time or another."
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