Floyd Sweet - Solid-State Magnet Pioneer
by Jeane Manning
"There is suppression launched against any free-energy inventor who
succeeds or is very close to succeeding." - Ret. Lt. Col. Thomas
The late Floyd "Sparky" Sweet created a breakthrough magnetic
solid-state energy generator. For complex reasons, he did not develop
his device into a commercially viable product. However, as a magnetics
specialist with a distinguished industrial career, Sweet was not a man
whose technical claims could be easily dismissed by critics.
Sweet's story is important for three reasons. First, creditable
witnesses saw his invention convert the invisible energy of space into
useable amounts of electric powerwithout fuel, batteries, or
connection to an outlet. Second, he was subjected to the same kinds of
harassment that the inventors we met in Part I had to face, including
threats on his life. Third, and most important, Sweet's research has
inspired the work of other space-energy inventors, some of whom may
well produce a useful stationary-magn et device.
FLOYD SWEET AND MAGNETS
Floyd Sweet (1912-1995) grew up in Connecticut, in an era when radios
were home-built crystal sets. At the age of nine, his intense interest
in how things work was directed into building and disassembling radios
and other electrical apparatus, such as a small Tesla coil (see
Chapter 2) energized by a Model T spark plug.
When Sweet was eighteen, a family friend helped him find work at the
nearby General Electric plant while he went to college. He got the
nickname "Sparky" after he Disconnected some wires one day, which
resulted in an instrument exploding in a spectacular spray of sparks.
Despite this incident, his employers were pleased with his work
especially his intuitive gift for coming up with answers to electrical
Sweet stayed with GE after completing his education. He worked in the
company's Schenectady, New York, research and development center from
1957 to 1962a dream job in which he could use a well equipped
laboratory to follow his hunches on intriguing magnetics projects.
That line of research fascinated him. In 1969, he obtained a master's
degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
By the mid-1970s, Sweet and his wife, Rose, had moved to the Los
Angeles area to enjoy semiretirement. Besides serving as one of GE's
preferred consultants, Sweet designed electric equipment for other
Floyd Sweet was more than a professional scientist who worked with
magnets. He had a passion for magnetism, and for the concept that the
entire universe is permeated with a magnetic field. Once he fully
retired in the early 1980s, he would have happily spent many hours
each day building a device that could tap into the energy of that
magnetic field. But Rose fell ill, and was an invalid for the last
seven years of her life. This demanded Floyd's attention and forced
him to dip into their savings. He also ha d to cope with his own ill
health, including a period of near blindness. Despite these problems,
he worked on his device when not preparing meals and tending to his
SWEET'S VACUUM TRIODE AMPLIFIER: DEFYING CONVENTION
For decades, new-energy researchers talked about the possibility of
treating a magnet so that its magnetic field would continuously shake
or vibrate. On rare occasions, Sweet saw this effect, called
self-oscillation, occur in electric transformers. He felt it could be
coaxed into doing something useful, such as producing energy. Sweet
thought that if he could find the precise way to shake or disturb a
magnet's force field, the field would continue to shake by itself. It
would be similar to striking a bell a nd having the bell keep on
As usual, Sweet-who said his ideas came to him in dreams turned for
inspiration to his expertise in magnets. He knew magnets could be used
to produce electricity, as we learned in Chapter 4, and wanted to see
if he could get power out of a magnet by something other than the
standard induction process. That process involves either moving a
magnet past a wire coil a coil of conductive wire, such as copperor
moving a coil through the field of a magnet. This changing magnetic
field causes an electric current to flow in the copper wire.
What Sweet wanted to do was to keep the magnet still and just shake
its magnetic field. This shaking, in turn, would create an electric
current. One new-energy researcher compares self-oscillation to a leaf
on a tree waving in a gentle breeze. While the breeze itself isn't
moving back and forth, it sets the leaf into that kind of motion.
Sweet thought that if space energy, discussed in Chapter 4, could be
captured to serve as the breeze, then the magnetic field would
serve as the leaf. Sweet would just have to supply a small amount of
energy to set the magnetic field in motion, and space energy would
keep it moving.
By 1985, he had come up with a set of specially conditioned magnets,
wound with wires. To test his device, Sweet discharged a current into
the wire coil around the magnet. As a result, the coil disturbed the
magnet's field. It was as if Sweet had snapped the magnet's Held out
of position to set it in motion. Sweet then connected a twelve-volt
lightbulbthe size used in flashlightsto the coil. If the device was
producing electricity, the bulb would light.
The results were more than Sweet expected. A surge of power came out
of the coil and there was a bright flash from the bulb which had
received so much power that it melted. Years later, Sweet remembered
that Rose had seen the flash and called out, "What did you blow up
The inventor was baffled by the dazzling flash of lightwhy so much
energy? He returned to his workbench to make further models. Needing a
theory to explain his startling discovery, he remembered hearing about
Thomas Bearden, retired Army officer and nuclear physicist, and John
Bedini, an electronics expert, on a local radio show. Sweet called
Bedini, who arranged for Bearden to visit Sweet.
Bearden saw the curious device pull nearly six watts of electric power
out of the air with only a tiny fraction of a watt going into the
machine. Bearden ran tests to his heart's content, and was delighted
to see a little unit embodying the unorthodox concepts that he had
written about over the years, the concepts behind space energy. He
called Sweet's assembly of magnets and wire coils the Vacuum Triode
Amplifier (VTA). Bearden decided that the device was serving as a gate
through which energy from space w as being herded into a electric
The most amazing aspect of Sweet's device was that it put out so much
more power than it took in. How much more? In a 1988 model, Sweet
found that 330 microwatts330 one-millionths of a wattof input power
made it possible for the VTA's wire coils to put out more than 500
watts of usable energy, or about one and a half million times the
The VTA's Special Effects and Difficult Development
The VTA turned out to have some very odd effects, but Bearden's
research background prepared him for that. So in 1987, Bearden asked
Sweet to perform an antigravity experiment. Bearden calcu1ated that
the six-pound machine would levitate when about 1,500 watts of power
were drawn out of it, but that the magnets might explode at about the
same power level. He warned Sweet to limit the output to no more than
1,000 watts. A VTA would be placed on a scale so that its weight could
be carefully monitored while it was hooked up to a box of lighibulb
sockets. Screwing bulbs int o the sockets would draw off the power.
About a week later, Sweet excitedly read off results over the phone to
Beardenwho was home in Alabamaas Sweet screwed in ten 100-watt
bulbs, one at a time. The device gradually lost weight until it was
down to 90 percent of its original weight. For safety reasons, Sweet
and Bearden stopped the experiment before the device could begin to
hover or fly.
Why did the VTA lose weight? According to Bearden's theory, gravity
becomes a pushing force rather than a pulling force under certain
conditions. Bearden also says that space energy has a pressure,
referred to as energy density. If the pressure above an object is
decreased while the pressure under the object is increased, the object
will be drawn upwards. The VTA may have changed the energy density by
drawing on space energy.
The technology could sometimes do spooky things. Walter Rosenthal of
California, a test engineer who has helped many struggling inventors
test their devices, recalls an incident that Sweet had told him about.
The incident occurred while Sweet was trying to document his
"The machine's weight was observed [to be] decreasing with an increased
load [of lighibulbs], in a quiet orderly fashion, until a point was
suddenly reached when Floyd heard an immense sound, as if he were at
the center of a giant whirlwind but without actual air movement. The
sound was heard by Rose in another room of their apartment and by
others outside the apartment."
This experience has been confirmed by a Canadian space-energy
researcher, who heard a similar whirlwind sound during one of his
Another unusual effect of Sweet's VTA was the fact that it produced
cold, instead of the heat usually generated by electric equipment. The
inside of the VTA was as much as twenty degrees cooler than the
surrounding air. The greater the load put on the device, the cooler it
became. When VTA wires were accidentally shorted out, they flashed
with a brilliant burst of light, and were found to be covered with
frost. One time, a brief contact with the equipment froze some of
Sweet's flesh, causing him pain for ab out two weeks afterward.
Sweet discovered other interesting effects. But development of the VTA
was slowed by trouble with materials and processes, and by financial
entanglements. Sweet had to find magnets that could hold the
self-oscillation effect. That required magnets with force fields that
didn't vary much across the face of the magnet.
Also, standard mathematical calculations didn't work with the VTA. In
1991, Sweet produced a math theory for the VTAan engineering design
model that showed how factors such as the number of turns of wire in
the coils affected the device's behavior. Producing this theory was an
important step. Without it, other researchers would not reproduce
Sometimes it was difficult for Sweet to reproduce his own work. As
with first models of any new technology, the VTAs he built were very
unreliable. For example, at times their output went down at night and
picked up again during the day. Sometimes, they just plain stopped
working for no apparent reason. But when the VTA worked, the power it
put out for its size was unprecedented.
Sweet Challenges the Laws of Physics
Bearden contributed to the theory that explained Sweet's invention.
Much of the theory that Bearden used to explain how the VTA worked
came from advances in the field of phase conjugate optics, a
specialized study of light used by laser scientists and weapons
researchers. Using information from this field, Bearden said that the
VTA was able to amplify the space energy it took in.
The science establishment requires that an invention be explained by
accepted laws of physics, and so much output from so little input
seems to violate those laws, which do not allow for such a thing.
However, Sweet and bearden recognized that these laws apply to
ordinary, or closed, systemssystems in which you cannot get more
energy out than what you put in. Because the VTA allowed energy to
flow in from the vacuum of space, it was not operating in a closed
system, but in an open one. (See Chapter 1 for a discussion of closed
versus open systems.) A VTA operating in the flow of space energy is
like a windmill operating in the wind. Both receive excess energy from
an outside source. But since neither operates m a closed system,
neither violates the laws of physics.
In 1991, a paper by Sweet and Bearden was read at a formal gathering
of conventional engineers and physicists in Boston. Neither Bearden
nor Sweet were able to attendBearden was called away on business, and
Sweet was recuperating from heart surgery. Walter Rosenthal went
instead. The paper said that the VTA had the signs of being a true
negentropy device, or a device that was able to turn random space
energy into usable electricity (see Chapter 4).
How did this work? It helps to think of a handful of marbles on a
tabletop. You can either roll them all in one direction, or you can
scatter them in all directions. If you scatter the marbles into a
reflector, the reflector will roll them back to you in an orderly
fashion. Although the language they used was quite technical, what
Sweet and Bearden basically said is that the VTA was able to take
energy "marbles" and keep rolling them back and forth, building energy
as they went along.
After Bearden's paper was read, Walter Rosenthal stood up and startled
the audience of skeptical engineers: "I have personally seen Floyd
Sweet's machine operating. It was running . . . those small motors you
saw in the video. It was jump-started with a ninevolt battery. There
was no other electrical input required.... There was no connection to
the power line whatsoever." And, no, there were no moving parts.
Although most of the audience listened politely, it was too much for
one engineering professor. He stalked out of the room, saying, "To
present such a remark at an engineering conference is the height of
irresponsibility! It violates virtually every conceivable concept
known to engineers."
SWEET IS HREATENED
Could activity at the Sweet home been secretly watched by strangers?
Sweet told the story of a time in the late 1980s when a man accosted
him as Sweet was leaving a supermarket. Sweet remembered the man's
expensive-looking shoes, and the fact that he was immaculately
dressed. But in the stress of the moment, Sweet couldn't focus on much
What made the inventor nervous was the photograph that the man held, a
photograph showing Sweet at work on his tabletop-model VTAin the
supposed privacy of Sweet's own home. In what Sweet said was a
remarkably clear photo, he was sitting in the dining room on the
second story of the apartment building where he lived with Rose.
"He walked me all the way to my building, telling me what would happen
to me if I didn't stop my research," Sweet recalled. "How they took
that picture through my window, I'll never know." As Sweet remembered
it, the man claimed to be connected with a conglomerate that did not
want the VTA to come onto the market at that time. He told Sweet, "It
is not beyond possibilities to take you out of the way."
Sweet said that afterward he called the FBI in Los Angeles. He
believed that two agents staked out his house for a couple of weeks,
but that nothing came of it.
Around the time of the photo incident, Sweet was getting telephone
calls and death threats from strangers. He said there were "people
calling at all hours. The police put a tap on my line and over a
six-month period, over 480 calls came in from all parts of the United
States. But they were from pay stations." Thus, the police could never
find the callers.
Early in the VTA's development, someone broke into Sweet's apartment
and stole his notes. He then began to code his notes.
Sweet temporarily stopped work on his invention, out of concern for
his ill wife. "They must have known I stopped; they didn't torment me
FOLLOWING IN SWEET'S FOOTSTEPS
On July 5, 1995, Floyd Sweet suffered a fatal heart attack at the age
of eighty-three. A couple of weeks before his death, Sweet said that
the automotive industry was testing his power unit for use in cars,
and that they had a unit running for 5,000 hours. He said he was
dealing with people at General Motors, but no one has been able to
confirm Sweet's claims.
The VTA itself is bogged down in legal problems. But Tom Bearden, who
put much of his own time and money into the project, hopes that the
VTA can be resurrected so that the world will realize what a pioneer
Floyd Sweet was. And despite the confusion surrounding Sweet's affairs
at the time of his death, other researchers are continuing this line
Confusion and Secrecy
The automotive industry may not have been the only potential investor
that Sweet was dealing with. At the time of his death, there was some
confusion concerning the rights to Sweet's hardware and papers, held
by Sweet's second wife, Violet. Bearden says that Sweet signed a
number of agreements with a number of backers, and that some of these
people have claimed rights to the invention. At least two of these
investors say they want Sweet's laboratory equipment, inventions, and
technical papers to go into a p roposed Floyd Sweet Museum so that
other researchers could study the technology. Walter Rosenthal is
trying to help all parties work towards an agreement.
Despite Bearden's urging, Sweet never had the VTA certified by
independent testing. "He feared that his life would be snuffed out
immediately if he even attempted such a thing," Bearden says.
Sweet also frustrated his fellow researchers by keeping secret his
most important processhow he conditioned the magnets that are at the
heart of the VTA. Did he pump the magnets with powerful
electromagnetic pulses to shake up their internal structure? He
refused to give details, and said it wasn't likely that other
researchers would learn his secrets: "The odds against them finding
out is like trying to open a safe with 100 dials set from zero to a
hundred, without knowing the combination."
Sweet not only feared for his life, but once said he feared that if he
described how he made his device work, unscrupulous people would build
models without giving him his due. He was also concerned about what
would happen if the VTA was widely sold everywhere at once, replacing
many other electric devices. "If it all came out at once, the stock
market would collapses'' he said. "The government doesn't want it." To
be fair to Sweet, I would point out that he is not the only inventor
who has been uncomfortab le in disclosing key aspects of his work.
Other Researchers and the VTA
Other inventors are trying to carry on Sweet's work. The VTA is
well-known on computer bulletin boards that list "free energy" as a
topic of discussion. Experimenters scramble for details of how the
device was built.
One researcher who has claimed some success is Don Watson, a
self-educated inventor from Texas. Watson says he has built a working
device similar to Sweet's VTA, which he works on at night after
working during the day as a telephone systems installer.
In Somerset, England, electronics expert Michael Watson (no relation
to Don) built a replica of Sweet's VTA, but claimed no success in the
experiment. Despite that, he says, "In my opinion the inventor of the
VTA, Floyd Sweet, has made a scientific discovery of [the] greatest
Watson thinks that attempts to reproduce Sweet's results may run into
problems because the type of magnets Sweet used are no longer
available. But he says, "The important point about the VTA is that a
form of magnetic instability exists that can act as a significant
When this fledgling space-energy science reaches maturity, what could
the VTA do for the lives of the rest of us? Bearden speculates that
the new physics will change our lives in undreamed-of ways:
"By mastering, controlling, and gating the vast, incredible energy of
the seething vacuum [of space], we can power our automobiles, flying
machines, and technology inexhaustibly. Further, it can be done
absolutely cleanly; there are no noxious chemical pollutants.
With practical antigravity, ships can be developed to cross the solar
system as readily as one crosses the ocean today.... The inexhaustible
vacuum fills every system, everywhere, to overflowing."
Despite the difficulties that Sweet ran into in his attempts to
perfect his invention, he helped science take a leap into the future.
It perhaps could have leaped further if he had cooperated more freely
with other researchers in the last decade of his life, and if he had
been tidier in his business dealings. But Sparky Sweet deserves praise
for charting a new course.
In the next chapter, we will meet other energy innovators who have
discovered the power of magnets in motion.
Floyd Sweet | MERLib.org
Floyd Sweet: Space Quanta Magnifier / Vacuum Triode Amplifier
~ Collected papers, diagrams, photos & videos
The Tom Bearden Website
The Floyd Sweet's vacuum triode amplifier
Nothing is Something - by Floyd Sweet
PowerPedia:Floyd Sweet - PESWiki
Vacuum triode amplifier - Floyd Sweet - sci.physics | Google Groups