The Museum of Hoaxes
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Keely Motor Company, 1875
John Worrell Keely founded the Keely Motor Company in 1875 in order to develop and commercialize his invention: a "vibratory generator" that required only a quart of water to generate the equivalent of the power needed to pull a fully-loaded train for over 75 minutes. Following successful demonstrations of this miraculous device in his workshop, investors rushed to give him money, even though the scientific community derided his claims. For fourteen years he kept working on his engine, promising investors that the moment was just around the corner when he would unveil it to the world. The investors believed him and kept pouring money into his bank account. When he died in 1898 investigators discovered the secret of the engine. There was a compressed air machine hidden in the basement of his house that fed power to the engine located two floors directly above it.
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