Perpetual Motion

“What wasn’t there? What ‘ingenious’ and complicated machines did I not see? In any single one of these mechanisms I saw there, there must have been more ideas and ‘wiseacrings’ than in all the laws of World-creation and World-existence.

“I noted at the time that in these innumerable models and descriptions of proposed mechanisms, the idea of using what is called the ‘force of weight’ predominated. And the idea of employing the ‘force of weight’ they explained thus: a very complicated mechanism was to lift ‘some’ weight and this latter was then to fall and by its fall set the whole mechanism in motion, which motion would again lift the weight, and so on, and so on.

“The result of it all was that thousands were shut up in ‘lunatic asylums,’ thousands more, having made this idea their dream, either began to fail altogether to fulfill even those being-duties of theirs which had somehow or other in the course of many years been established there, or to fulfill them in such a way as ‘couldn’t be worse.’

“I don’t know how it would all have ended if some quite demented being there, with one foot already in the grave, such a one as they themselves call an ‘old dotard,’ and who had previously somehow acquired a certain authority, had not proved by ‘calculations’ known only to himself that it was absolutely impossible to invent ‘perpetual motion.’

“Now, after your explanation, I can well understand how the cylinder of the system of Archangel Hariton works. It is the very thing of which these unfortunates there dreamed.

“Indeed, of the ‘cylinder’ of the system of the Archangel Hariton it can safely be said that, with atmosphere alone given, it will work perpetually without needing the expenditure of any outside materials.