Permanent Magnet Generator

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Howard Johnson Motor

Howard R. Johnson was an inventor who developed a plan for a permanent magnet motor and received three U.S. patents for the motor itself and related inventions. The invention is sometimes categorized as a perpetual motion machine; this is incorrect, however, as it did not violate the first or second laws of thermodynamics, and would not allow actual perpetual operation.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a standard policy of rejecting all patent applications for genuine perpetual motion without a working model. It is not true, however, that the office will not consider perpetual motion inventions at all, or that it automatically rejects them. (Yet it is certainly true that no patent for a working perpetual motion machine has ever been issued, despite countless applications).

No other type of invention calls for this automatic requirement of a working model and most patents have been issued on the strength of blueprints and detailed diagrams and explanations. Howard Johnson received his patents in this fashion. It has never been demonstrated conclusively that his designs will work at all.

Johnson and William P. Harrison published a paper on the
magnet motor in 1979 which can be found on line. The paper contains diagrams and equations, and shows a motor that uses mathematically-placed magnets to generate motion without a constant power source. Based on this and other information, many attempts have been made to duplicate the success that Johnson claimed. So far, all known such attempts have ended in failure.

Magnet Motors

Permanent magnet generators are a well-established device in mechanical engineering and can be reversed so as to generate electricity. However, in all well-known cases the motors require energy input of some kind. In their motor incarnation, the energy takes the form of electricity which the motor converts into motion using electromagnetism.

In a generator, the reverse is true: motion, e.g. of steam or another heated fluid in a conventional fuel-powered generator, or wind or water in a wind turbine or hydroelectric generator, causes the generator to move and incorporated magnets convert this motion into electricity. Johnson's invention was different from conventional magnet motors however in that it claimed to use ambient magnetism to generate motion without any conventional energy input.

Howard Johnson Generator Hoax

In addition to the relatively innocent enthusiasts who are attempting to duplicate Johnson's claimed achievement, much less innocent on-line publications can also be found offering "plans" for a generator based on Johnson's work that is claimed to generate enough power for a household in perpetuity, providing free energy forever.

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Advertisements for the plans display Johnson's patents prominently and talk about conspiracies by the electric power industry to keep the generator off the market. The plans sell for just a few cents under $50, which is typical for more legitimate offerings such as instructions on building one's own solar panels or wind turbines. However, the sites offer no real information about how the device is supposed to work, only a lot of sales talk and conspiracy theory.

It's uncertain to what extent Johnson was able to make his ideas function in reality as opposed to on paper, but there is no reason to believe that anyone else has replicated his work if so -- not for any lack of trying, either. As such, an investment in plans for a working generator based on his work would almost certainly be money lost.

Anyone who did find a way to use the Earth's magnetic field as a source of usable electric power (which is only a guess as to how the Howard Johnson generator is supposed to work; the sales sites never really say) would surely go about making the invention available in quite different ways than this.