By Norris Chambers

             Before I became smarter I would argue about almost anything. It didn’t matter whether I believed in my stance, I argued just for the fun of arguing. Perhaps that is why Dave, a co-worker, and I entered into a pointless argument about whether perpetual motion is possible or not. Of course I had the unpopular and improvable argument that it is possible and just hasn’t been discovered yet.

            “There is a strong gravity force that pulls downward with tremendous power!” I told him. “Where there is power there can be motion if it is properly applied. There is tremendous power in the sun, the tides and the magnetic field of the earth. A permanent magnet exerts power in its own way.”

            His argument was the old belief that it will take more power to harness any of this power than can be generated from it. Of course that has been the problem that has kept us from using this free power.

            “If I can make a little motor that will run continuously, day and night, without stopping, will you admit you lost the argument?” He was quick to agree and told me to get busy. I already had an idea so I started making some serious looking formulas and drawings on a clip board and told him I was already deep into the problem. The paper work didn’t mean anything, but it made the project look more impressive. The actual work on the model would start in my radio shop at home.

            My first step in building my motor was to take a match stick with the striking end removed and insert a sewing needle in each end with the point protruding. This was to provide a shaft for my motor that would encounter practically no friction from the end bearings. The needle points would revolve in a slight dent in a nail on each end of a wooden base.

            I had built a similar motor a few years earlier. The secret to success was to keep everything very light and well balanced and have well tuned coils. The motor was not perpetual motion, but someone not knowing its secret might wonder how it continued to run. Actually, the answer was pretty simple. The small mount of power required for the rotation was obtained from the broadcast signal of a nearby radio station.

            The signal was received by a loop antenna tuned carefully to the frequency of the station. The signal that was present was rectified by a high frequency diode and a condenser and was applied to the simple coil and permanent magnet arrangement of the motor. The rotor turned at a moderate speed and would continue to do so as long as the station was on the air. Luckily the strong nearby station was on the air 24 hours a day.

            I arrived a little early the next day and prepared to set my motor to work. Luckily, we were in an outside room with very little steel in the structure and there was enough signal from the station to operate my motor. I placed it prominently on the work bench and waited to see the expression on Dave’s face when he arrived and saw the successful model doing its job.

            When Dave arrived the first thing he saw was the active motor doing its thing. He grinned a little and said, “Well, it looks like you got it going.” He then walked over and inspected it closely.

            “Where have you hidden the battery?” he asked.

            “No battery!” I answered. “You can take my word for it or disassemble it and see for yourself. It’s true perpetual motion.”

            “I don’t think so.” His answer was very positive and it was evident that further argument would be useless. I figured it was time to bring the subject to an end I patiently explained to him how the little motor operated on power radiated by the radio station. Then I explained to him the terms of our agreement and told him that I was claiming a win for my argument.

            “I guess you tricked me into losing the argument,” he responded, “but perpetual motion is still not possible.” I told him I accepted his congratulations and asked him a question.

            “What do you think about the new proposal to install speed control devices on all automobiles and open up constant surveillance by computer enforcement? I think it’s a good idea.”

            Another argument began. Are arguments fun? There are many types of arguments – you should only get involved in the FUN types! Remember, it is more fun to win than to lose.