Howard R. Johnson and William P. Harrison, Jr.
I. Introductory remarks (by Mr. Johnson)
Today when energy is so expensive, it is not hard to drum up interst for most any avenue that offers a breath of hope or a way of escape, but this was not necessarily so in 1942. We were somewhat satisfied and convinced that we had the main sources of energy in view. So it took a pure act of faith to try to develop a new un-named source.
It took faith to spend time on it. It took faith to spend money on it. And it took faith to consider facing the opposition later when I made my work known and faced all the status quo people.
So, in 1942 using the Bohr model of the atom, and knowing that un-paired electron spins created a permanent magnet dipole, I kept wondering why we couldn't use these fields to drive something. I was sure that the magnetic effect of the spins was similar enough to the field of a current in a wire to do the same thing. I had no knowledge of electron spins stopping and knew no method that I could exert to stop them, so I decided to try to work out a method to use them.
At the same time there were no good hard magnetic materials that I knew of, materials that could be opposed with strong magnetic fields and not be demagnetized enough to damage them. Not only that, they would not give the thrust that I desired.
Having a chemical background, I thought it would be nice to use the
best magnetic materials I could find in combination with an interstitial material that was highly diamagnetic to force the electron spin to stay in place.
The U.S. Navy later made such a compound using bismouth [bismuth] and good magnetic materials, but the internal coercive forces were so great that this strong magnet would fall apart if not encased in glass. It was also expensive.
So I kept checking magnetic materials while I worked on designs that I thought should be implemented. It was a quiet, sometimes lonely job over the years, for I didn't share my plans with my associates. My self-imposed security would not permit it, and I knew of few people who would be interested anyway.
In the fifties, as ceramic magnets became better and harder, and long-field metal magnets appeared on the scene, I began to freeze some designs and to have magnets custom made to fit them.
It was about this time that I mentioned the fact that just as I believed electron spins made permanent magnets, I also believed that they were responsible for the 60° angles in the structure of snowflakes giving the six-spoked wheel, the six-sided spokes, etc. The dean of the school where I was teaching said, "Maybe so" and ask me if I knew that snowflakes were mentioned in the Bible as being important. I told him, "No, I didn't know that," but I looked it up. It said: "Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail? Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war."
My comment was, "Well, maybe this is more important than I thought." So I went ahead and worked on it another ten years.
I went to the Library of Congress and looked up snowflakes. I found a wonderful book there by Dr. Bentley of New Hampshire. He has spend many years making these studies, and he had learned a lot, as well as turning out one of the world's most beautiful books. He had found that snowflakes have gas pockets oriented on 60° angles and that the gas has a higher percentage of oxygen than air. That's one reason why snow water rusts so well. This higher concentration of oxygen also interested me because oxygen is more attracted to a magnetic field than other gases.
Finally, using the best ceramic magnets I could find and the best metal magnets, I worked out a scheme for a linear motor. The stator would be laid out as if it were unwound from around a motor. The parts of the armature would ride just above the stator and have the same beveled angular orientations I have just mentioned.
Dies were made for the curved armature magnets, and an order was placed for these shapes, despite the objections of magnet manufacturers who said it was a bad design. They didn't know what it was for, but they were sure it was a bad design. They wanted to make horseshoe magnets. They even begged me to content myself with half an order. I did not agree -- and once again you have that little matter of faith; faith to try to implement a new theory; faith to spend your own limited funds when you have a a family and other financial responsibilities staring you in the face; faith to buck the recognized authorities and manufacturers in the field; faith to believe that your work is good and that some day, despite all the hazards, you will apply for and receive patent rights in your own country and perhaps throughout the rest of the world; and finally, faith that you can resist being smashed into dust by industrial giants and/or being robbed by others who know only how to steal.
Believe it or not, my first motor assembly showed about two pounds of thrust. The little toy car on which I fastened the armature magnets for support ran in both directions over the stator, showing that the focusing and timing of the interactions was not too bad.
This was the first light at the end of a rather dark tunnel I had been traveling for many years. I breathed a real sign of relief as my young son played with this "new toy," and was able to operate it as easily as I could.
After much testing of linear and circular designs, and looking for an attorney for years suited to securing a patent on the new theoretical work, I was led to Dunkan Beaman of Beaman & Beamon in Jackson, Michigan. It took some time to prepare the patent. The attorney built some models himself to check certain parameters. Finally, we entered the case in the patent office expecting a lot of opposition. We were correct. We got it. But again, faith saved the day as we battled for many years to gain a rather complete victory.
Now the work requires different kinds of faith: faith in those who have taken cut licenses and who will license; faith to continue the research to replace scarce materials in the magnets; and faith that this work will continue to progress and that it will eventually fulfill its goal.
For a number of reasons, the permanent magnet motor has not received much consideration. In fact, nothing too radical has been done since Faraday took some very crude materials and showed the world that it was possible to make a motor. This work of his largely influenced the thinking of Clerk Maxwell and others who followed.
Today, the two greatest obstacles to using a permanent magnet motor
The invention is directed to the method of utilizing the unpaired electron spins in ferro magnetic and other materials as a source of magnetic fields for producing power without any electron flow as occurs in normal conductors, and to permanent magnet motors for utilizing this method to produce a power source. In the practice of the invention the unpaired electron spins occurring within permanent magnets are utilized to produce a motive power source solely through the superconducting characteristics of a permanent magnet and the magnetic flux created by the magnets are controlled and concentrated to orient the magnetic forces generated in such a manner to do useful continuous work, such as the displacement of a rotor with respect to a stator. The timing and orientation of magnetic forces at the rotor and stator components produced by permanent magnets to produce a motor is accomplished with the proper geometrical relationship of these components.Patent 4151431:
A permanent magnet propulsion system wherein a steel ball is propelled up an inclined plane between two rows of permanent bar magnets, said magnets being in spaced relationship with all north seeking poles of one of the said rows facing in substantially the same direction and with all south seeking poles in the other row facing in substantially the same but opposite direction to the first of said rows. The magnetic axes of each of the magnets of the first said row are in staggered relationship to the axes of opposing magnets of the second said row. The magnetic field acting on the ball is configured whereby the ball after reaching the top of the inclined plane is able to drop from the said plane out of the field. A pair of parallel tracks positioned between the spaced rows of magnets guide the ball and a clamping means orient and retain the magnets.Patent 4215330:
A permanent magnet armature is magnetically propelled along a guided path by interaction with the field within a flux zone limited on either side of the path by an arrangement of permanent stator magnets.Patent 4877983: