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Why Won’t They Work?
The search for perpetual motion is a tragicomedy of obsessed inventors, an eager faith, and humbug
April 1961 | Volume 12, Issue 3
Buried in every perpetual-motion scheme is a flaw in the inventor’s reasoning. Frequently the basic idea is so clever that even a trained observer has difficulty in peeling away the layers of brilliant logic and unearthing that fatal error. Nor is it usually the simple argument that there is “too much friction.” The author’s simplified diagrams show some of the classic perpetual-motion schemes which Americans have invented and reinvented scores of times. In each of the schemes a law of nature, a basic principle which the inventor has overlooked, is going to stop the device. With each machine, the inventor’s claims are given. What is wrong? The correct answers are on page 85.