The Energy Machine of Joe Newman
Abstracted from an article in the May 1987 issue of Discover Magazine
Joe Newman claims he has invented an energy machine that harnesses a
heretofore untapped source of energy. What the machine does says Newman
is to convert mass into energy by tapping into the mechanical energy
of Newman's "gyroscopes". In 1979 Newman applied for a patent and in
1982 he was rejected at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)
which said it "Smacks of perperual motion".
Newman Appealed the decsion and subsequently demonstrated his
motor but claims he wasn't taken seriouly. In 1984 Newman sued the
PTO in Federal Court. Judge Jackson appointed a special master to
investigate. The investigator, William Schuyler, Jr, was an
electrical engineer, patent attorney, and former Commissioner of
Patents. Schuyler issued his report in Sept 1984. It stated the
evidence was "overwhelming" , labeled as "clearly erroneous" the PTO's
claim that the machine was impossible, and concluded that on the basis
of "very clear evidence" that the Newman machine was operable and
"entitled to a patent". The PTO objected to the report. The judge
rejected the conclusions and sent the case back to the PTO for
reconsideration. THe PTO reconsidered and rejected the application
once again. The Judge, at PTO's suggestion, directed Newman to
surrender his machine to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) for
testing. After numerous squabbles, the NBS tested the machine.
The NBS concluded that the machine did not work as claimed. Newman
claimed that the NBS has botched the tests and had grounded the
machine thereby draining away most of its energy and in additon had
tested his motor as if it were a generator.
During court room testimony, Newman's lawyer called 3 expert
witnesses, a physicist and two engineers. The first witness said
ocilloscope traces showed more energy coming out then going in. He
also said that he hooked a standard motor to a pump and ran it for 6
minutes untill it exhausted the batteries running it. Using the same
pump and identical batteries, he hooked the pump to the Newman motor
and it was still running and pumping oil after 8 hours. The witness,
Roger Hastings, explained the essential feature of the Newman motor to
be the extremely long wire used to wind the coil - 55 miles in one
version, with many thousands of turns. The wire is so long that the
current doesn't have time to reach the end before the flow is reversed
by the commutator as the rotor turns.
The second witness, Milton Everet, a mechanical engineer, told how
he and two EE professors from Mississippi State University, compared a
newman motor to a standard motor and found it drew one-tenth the
current while pumping water at a comparable rate. Everet also
described how a Newman motor with a 90 pound rotor was hooked to a
worn out flashlight battery. It ran for 4 and three-quarter hours
until he finally gave up, shut it off, and went home.
The third witness was Ralph Hartwell, a telivison station eingineer
and battery expert. He connected a small standard electric motor to
some nearly dead penlight batteries. THe motor ran for one minute and
15 seconds befor the battery was drained. He then hooked that same
battery to the 90 pound rotor Newman motor which proceeded to run
normally. After 75 minutes, Hartwell unhooked the battery from the
Newman motor and re-connected it to the standard motor. This time the
standard motor ran for 2 minutes and 25 seconds before the battery
One of Newmans financial backers, Dan Benvenuti, has become
disillusioned due to public displays that have not come off as
envisioned. Dan arranged for an acquantance of Newman's, Sam
Taliaferro, to build a Newman-style coil and test it. Benvenuti was
disappointed when the test showed the device to be no more efficient
then standard electric coils. Time and again, Benvenuti says he has
arranged financing for Newman only to have Newman back out at the last
Newman has recieved support by only one large tecnology company,
Rayovac. Rayovac has supplied batteries, observed the machine, and
inspected batteries after they powered Newman's machines. Pat
Spellman, Rayovac's director of product developoment says he's seen
enough to be convinced that somethilng unique is going on. "It's not
at all clear to us how the batteries get rejuvenated when they run a
Newman motor. Beyond that I'd rather not get into it." he says.
Rayovac prepared a special battery pack for Newmans car. It has 68
250 volt batteries connected in series and delivers about 0.025 amps
at 17,000 volts or 340 watts.
The car was to be demonstrated in the Mississippi Coliseum but just
before the demo it was announced that it was damaged in the trip up.
The car is rolled out anyways and Newman came out holding up a single
transistor battery, and climbs into the car. The right wheel, which
has been jacked up off the ground, begins to turn. Newman claims
the car is running off the single transistor radio battery.
On Feb 4, 1987, Newman demos the car again in Lucedale. Using the
17,000 volt battery pack he goes 4 mph for about a mile. On March 11,
the car is driven at similar speeds for about two hours in an arena in
The Discover article concludes as follows:
Newman is wrong. The power required to propel an 1,800 pound car
at four mph is about 0.29 horsepower or 215 watts.
The Newman car used a battery pack that delivered about 20
milliamps at 17,000 volts or 340 watts. The hulking 550 pound Newman
motor thus transformed 340 watts of battery power into 215 watts of
driving power, for an efficiency of 63% - a decidedly unmiraculus
figure, inferior to that of a conventional electric motor.
But the question is, How long can the car be driven at that speed?
Newman says the batteries will never run down. Rayovac specs list
the energy capacity of the battery cells at 518 milliamp-hours. Since
the Newman car draws 20 milliamps, physics says the batteries should
be exhausted after 25.9 hours. Until Newman drives his car at four
mph for more than 25.9 hours, he'll remain within the realm of the
first and second laws of thermodynamics.