United States Patent
Johnson; Howard R.
3300 Mt. Hope Rd.,
Grass Lake, MI 49240
Filed: December 6, 1973
“Preferably, a plurality of armature magnets are used which are staggered with respect to each other in the direction of armature magnet movement. Such an offsetting or staggering of the armature magnets distributes the impulses of force imposed upon the armature magnets and results in a smoother application of forces to the armature magnet producing a smoother and more uniform movement of the armature component.”
this drawing is not part of the patent submission.
“In the rotary embodiment of the permanent magnet motor of the invention the stator magnets are arranged in a circle, and the armature magnets rotate about the stator magnets. Means are disclosed for producing relative axial displacement between the stator and armature magnets to adjust the axial alignment thereof, and thereby regulate the magnitude of the magnetic forces being imposed upon the armature magnets. In this manner the speed of rotation of the rotary embodiment may be regulated.”
“pay no attention to the ferrite graph (fig 1-4),
it belongs in some other patent!” -HJ *
“We don’t grant patents on perpetual motion machines,” said the examiners at the U.S. Patent Office. “It won’t work because it violates the law of Conservation of Energy,” said one physicist after another. But because, inventor Howard Johnson is not the sort of man to be intimidated by such seemingly authoritative pronouncements, he now owns U.S. Patent No. 4,151,431 which describes how it is possible to generate motive power, as in a motor, using only the energy contained in the atoms of permanent magnets. That’s right. Johnson has discovered how to build motors that run without an input of electricity or any other kind of external energy!
The monumental nature of the invention is obvious, especially in a world facing an alarming, escalating energy shortage. Yet inventor Johnson is not rushing to peddle his creation as the end-all solution to world- wide energy problems. He has more important work to do. First, there’s the need to refine his laboratory prototypes into workable practical devices -in particular a 5,000-watt electric power generator already in the building. His second and perhaps more difficult major challenge: persuade a host of skeptics that his ideas are indeed practical.
Johnson, who has been coping with disbelievers for decades, can be very persuasive in a face-to-face encounter because he can not do more than merely theorize; he can demonstrate working models that unquestionably create motion using only permanent magnets. When this writer was urged by the editor of Science & Mechanics to make a thousand mile pilgrimage to Blacksburg, Virginia, to meet with the inventor, he went there as an “open-minded skeptic” and as a former research Scientist determined not to be fooled. Within two days, this former skeptic had become a believer. Here’s why.
Doing the Unthinkable
Howard Johnson refuses to view the “laws” of science as somehow sacred, so doing the unthinkable and succeeding is second nature to him. If a particular law gets in the way, he sees no harm in going around it for a while to see if there’s something on the other side. Johnson explains the persistent opposition he experiences from the established scientific community this way: “Physics is a measurement science and physicists are especially determined to protect the ‘Law’ of Conservation of Energy. Thus the physicists become game wardens who tell us what laws’ we can’t violate. In this case they don’t even know what the game is. But they are so scared that I and my associates are going to violate some of these laws, that they have to get to the pass to head us off!”
The critics say Johnson offers a “free lunch” solution to energy problems, and that there can be no such thing. Johnson demurs, reminding repeatedly that he has never suggested that his invention provides something for nothing. He also points gut that no one talks about a “free lunch” when discussing extraction of enormous amounts of atomic power by means of nuclear reactors and atom bombs. In his mind, it’s much the same thing.
Johnson is the first to admit he doesn’t actually know where the power be has tapped derives. But he postulates that the energy may be associated with spinning electrons, perhaps in the form of a “presently unnamed atomic particle.” How do other physicists react to Johnson’s suggestion that there may be an atomic particle so far overlooked by nuclear physicists? Says Johnson: “I guess it’s fair to say that most of them are revolted.” On the other hand, a few converted scientists, including some who are associated with large and prestigious research laboratories, are intrigued enough to suggest that there should be a hunt for the answer, be it a “particle” or some other as yet unsuspected characteristic of atomic structure.
Before providing the answer, we need to face up to another question that undoubtedly nags in the minds of many readers: Is Johnson a bona fide researcher, or merely a “garage mechanic” mad inventor? As the following brief summary suggests, the inventor’s credentials appear to be impeccable. Following seven years of college and university training, Johnson worked on atomic energy projects at Oak Ridge, did magnetics research for Burroughs company, and served as scientific consultant to Lukens Steel. He has participated in the development of medical electrical products, including injection devices. For the military he invented a ceramic muffler that makes a portable motor generator silent at 50 feet; this has been in production for the past 18 years. His contributions to the motor industry include: a hysteresis brake; non-locking brake materials for anti- skid application, new methods of curing brake linings; and a method of dissolving asbestos fibers. He has also worked on silencers for small motors, a super charger, and has perfected a 92-pole no-brush generator to go in the wheel of Lincoln automobiles as a skid control; that last item reduced the cost to one-eighth of the cost of an earlier design by utilizing metal-filled plastics for the armature and field. In all, Johnson is connected with more than 30 patents in the fields of chemistry and physics.
I tried the experiment myself, and could feel the powerful magnetic forces at work as I placed the vehicle on the track. I gently eased the vehicle to the critical starting point, taking great care not to exert any kind of forward push, even inadvertently. I let go, Zip! It was on the floor again, at the other end of the track. Knowing that I would be asked if the track might have had a slant, I reversed the vehicle and started it from the opposite end of the track. It worked just as effectively in the reverse direction. In fact, the vehicle can even navigate a respectable upgrade. In light of these tests, and considering the remarkable speed of the vehicle, you can discount any notion that this was a simple “coasting” effect.
Incidentally, the photograph shows the vehicle about half ways along the track. It was “frozen” there by the electronic flash used to make the picture; there is no way of “posing” the vehicle in that position short of tying it down.
The second device has the U-shaped magnets standing on end in a rough circular arrangement oddly reminiscent of England’s Stonehenge. This assembly is mounted on a transparent plastic sheet supported on a plywood panel pivoted, underneath, on a free turning wheel obtained from a skateboard. As instructed, I eased the 8-ounce focusing magnet into the ring of larger magnets, keeping it at least four inches away from the ring. The 40 pound magnet assembly immediately began to turn and accelerated to a very respectable rotating speed which it maintained for as long as the focusing magnet was held in the magnetic field. When the focusing magnet was reversed, the large assembly turned in the opposite direction.
Since this assembly is clearly a crude sort of motor, there’s no doubt that it is indeed possible to construct a motor powered solely by permanent magnets.
All the patent drawings are shown above;
See the rest of the patent at
where I found the Science and Mechanics article:
List of several magnet motors – and a few others at
a case of repeated suppression !
“Howard is still working on getting another functioning unit constructed (he’s had numerous setbacks over the years after his working unit was vandalized by thieves that broke into Howard’s shop and stole only the magnets off that model, leaving many $K worth of other material nearby untouched).”
Here we have a well documented case of a man who succeeded in building a permanent magnet motor.
It is disappointing that the magnets are so difficult to shape (?) correctly that even he could not create a second set.
Howard Robert Johnson was born in 1919 in Pound, Virginia, USA, and died Jan. 2, 2008 in Blacksburg, VA. He is the researcher and inventor of an all magnet motor, which modern physics deigns impossible. The device generates motion, either rotary or linear, from nothing but permanent magnets in rotor as well as stator, acting against each other. In his invention (called a “Permanent Magnet Motor”), a permanent magnet armature is magnetically propelled along a guided path by interaction with the field within a flux zone limited on either side of the path by an arrangement of permanent stator magnets.
The unofficial “father of spintronics,” pioneer researcher Howard Johnson began investigating magnetism in 1942 as a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, studying Bohr’s work on the electron.
The permanent magnet motor was conceived by Howard Johnson sometime after the 1940s.
He received U.S. Patent 4151431 (G.patent; PDF) on April 24, 1979. The United States Patent office main classification of his 4151431 patent is as a “electrical generator or motor structure, dynamoelectric, linear”.
For easy ways to build simple magnet motors, see our page