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H. Perrigo: Aether Energy Electrical Generator

In 1926, Harry E. Perrigo claimed to have discovered a method to tap the energy from atmospherics. He even had a car which he converted to run on electricity that was generated in his "etheric wave accumulator". He applied for a patent December 31, 1925, with serial number 78,715 being assigned. Perrigo's patent application is considered a classic in patent law and is listed under the classification of "Perpetual Motion Machines & Other Impossible Inventions".

Despite the patent Office's attitude toward Perrigo's invention, there were a number of reputable people who claimed to have witnessed his device in action producing useable electric power.
The existence of electromagnetic radiation, the modern term, or electric waves in the ether as it used to be called was known by Hertz, a research scientist who discovered the photoelectric effect in 1887. Atmospherics, an electrical disturbance in the atmosphere, were known to produce noises in the early radio telegraph stations, some being strong enough to drown out the received signal. Perrigo deduced that here was a possible source of electrical power. All that was needed was a method of transforming the existing radiation into useable energy. He claimed to have developed a mechanism to intercept and collect from the "general ether field electric wave energy", and to transform it into useable electromotive force.

The basic method he used was an antenna arrangement which collected and resisted the incoming energy and raised it to a high enough current level where it could be run through a special electrical transformer to further intensify the available power.

Perrigo's antenna was derived from his experiments with various wire shapes, sizes and arrangements. One of his more successful attempts was to partially pound 100 roofing nails into a board 10 x 10 array and wrap very fine wire around each nail, making it a small electromagnet. Then by trial and error approach he connected the ends of the electromagnets to other nails in such a way that there was a maximum voltage between the wire and the nail. His patent application mirrored this electrical connection scheme in a more refined electromechanical approach.
Two accumulator plates were made with 100 round protruding knobs in a 10 x 10 square array. The accumulator plates were then sandwiched together with an insulator material between them. The insulator had 100 holes matching the protrusions on the plates. Placed in each hole was a special coil wrapped around a bundle of wires. Once the accumulator plates were sandwiched, a measurable electrical voltage existed between points AA and BB on plates 1 and 2, respectively. A very complicated transformer was attached to these two points. The plates were set on top of the transformer and Perrigo claimed this arrangement enhanced the energy accumulation process.
I have no idea of what materials the plate or protrusions were made. The patent drawing would lead one to believe they are the same material. It could be a metal [lead has been mentioned, or galena] or a non-conductor such as wood or a combination. The protrusions were connected by the same wiring scheme previously mentioned for the roofing nail model. The connections were different for the two plates.
H. Perrigo: Aether Energy Electrical Generator