J. Warren Mercer
From Kook Science
J. Warren Mercer was an American railroad flagman employed by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company (PRR) who was adjudged to be insane in April 1901, reportedly in consequence of his work on a perpetual motion machine. He was held at the Massillon State Hospital for the Insane briefly before his apparent release some weeks later.
- "PERPETUAL MOTION DRIVES MAN INSANE", Stark County Democrat (Canton, Ohio): 6, 5 Apr. 1901, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/87598865/
Alliance, April 3. — J. Warren Mercer, a well known flagman of the Pennsylvania railroad, was adjudged insane this afternoon. He has been working for some time on a perpetual motion machine and it is supposed that his worrying over this deranged his mind. He has been connected with the railroad for many years.
- "OHIO CONDENSATIONS", News-Journal (Mansfield, Ohio): 7, 5 Apr. 1901, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/291117461/
ALLIANCE — J. Warren Mercer, a resident of this city, has become violently insane and will probably be taken to the Massillon hospital for treatment. Almost constant study over the perplexing problem of perpetual motion, together with recent afflictions are supposed to have brought about his present mental condition.
- "J. Warren Mercer [...] will be released from Massillon State Hospital, June 15.", Evening Review (East Liverpool, Ohio): 3, 20 May 1901, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/59954014/