Albert S. Russell

From Kook Science

Albert S. Russell
Born 9 February 1846(1846-02-09)
Died 31 July 1916 (70)[1]
St. Joseph, Buchanan Co., Missouri

Albert Smith Russell (February 9, 1846 - July 31, 1916) was an American linguist who, while resident at Jefferson, Greene Co., Iowa, claimed in 1897 that he had "really solved the problem of perpetual motion" by building a contraption with a chain of corks passing through a tube into an enclosed dish of water, whereby the buoyancy would act to cause 2½ corks to move upward as 1 cork was submerged. While the claims received some regional press attention, the invention seems to have amounted to nothing.

Press Coverage

Perpetual Motion (1897)

Insanity Complaint (1901)

Russell was arrested at Des Moines four years later and briefly placed into the care of the Asylum for the Insane at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, based on a complaint that he had refused to allow his children to attend public schools and kept them impoverished; this apparent insanity was not, however, attributed to a fanatic interest in perpetual motion. Russell seems to have been released not long after, and continued living with his children for the remainder of his life.

Letters to the Editor

Russell wrote frequent letters that were published in newspapers, these ranging from patriotic poetry to concepts for patent-worthy inventions.


  1. Missouri, U.S., Death Certificates, 1910-1969. Albert S. Russell, Certificate 27126.