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The Bowman permanent magnet motor

In 1954 an Electrical Engineer named Carl C. Lienau, visiting relatives in California, learns that Lee Bowman of Sherman Oaks is seeking investors for the development of his device which he keeps in a case labelled: "Behold The Energy Of The Universe"-opened the machine is an 8x10x5 inch model mounted on a inch aluminium base. No compartment to hide batteries.

The device consists of three parallel shafts geared together so that the centre one turned in opposite direction to the two outside shafts. There was no electric motor attached to the assembly. On the centre shaft there was a 4 inch Lucite disc about inch thick. At the end of the outside shafts 2 Inch Lucite discs were attached. The discs contained small Alnico magnets, eight of them spaced around the large disc, four around each of the small discs. The Alnico slugs were equally spaced. The Axis of the cylindrical slugs were parallel to the shafts. Their ends were accordingly ground so as to pass close to opposing wheels with only a minute gap. When the wheels were moved by hand the magnetic slugs passed, where so phased as to synchronise in position. Bowman had a small block of aluminium carrying a cylindrical slug magnet whose end had been positioned at an angle. He put the block into a groove in the base where its position was such as to graze the magnet pair coming up. The system then began to rotate at a speed of almost revolution per second of the side shafts. The gears were so positioned that the end shafts ran at the same speed. When the block was slid into a second groove, just opposite the first the system rotated in the opposite sense.

By placing a finger on the periphery of the large Lucite wheel, the friction torque made the system slow down. The energy required to stop the rotation was estimated at about 4 inch pounds. From this the mechanical output was 4 inch pounds per seconds per rotation. The machine continued to rotate at that speed for 15 minutes before Bowman terminated the operation and inspection by Mr Lienau, who was much impressed and unable to account for the phenomenon. It is understood that Bowman had applied to patent the device, but was refused because the Patent Office considered it an "unpatentable perpetual motion machine."

Bowman related that the manufacturer of his magnets had tested a set of magnets which he used for a year and found that the remanent magnetism had not measurably declined. Lienau subsequently wrote to Bowman specifying the conditions of a Pony Brake test of the machine running in mechanical and technical isolation. If the output continued for a time beyond the specified capacity of the most long - lived batteries equivalent to the 10 lbs. gross weight of the machine, the evidence would be conclusive that the machine was not fraudulent. Bowman had been in communication with competent physicists at the University of Utah. Bowman took umbrage at the implications of the letter proposing a test. Bowman was a fine machinist and had a well equipped machine shop at his home. Lienau estimated that the device required about 100 hours of work. The material costs are not significant. Bowman made his living in geophysical prospecting and exhibited an album of testimonials from clients. At the time of the demonstration Bowman was 75 years old. He decided, according to one report to have his device taken apart and after his death to have the parts buried in different locations in California.