Joquina Fouchet

From Kook Science

Joquina Fouchet was a French resident of Louisville, Kentucky who was the subject of a widely-published newspaper story in 1883, in which he was said to have accidentally severed three fingers while working on a prototype for a perpetual motion machine, said to resemble a "mowing machine".

Press Coverage

  • "IN HIS OWN TRAP. A Laborer on the Perpetual-motion Problem Loses Several Fingers in His Machine.", Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY): 8, 25 June 1883, 

    An old Frenchman named Joquina Fouchet, who lives on Main street, near Jackson, met with a peculiar accident yesterday afternoon, which came very nearly resulting fatally. Fouchet since his boyhood has been a devout believer in the feasibility of perpetual motion, and his life has been devoted to the accomplishment of this exploded theory. He works in woolen mills, but every minute that he can spare devotes to his favorite hobby. Yesterday he was in his little room with his tools about him, experimenting and working as usual. He has a mass of iron and wood, put together with bolts and screws, that resembles a mowing machine more than anything else. He had just fixed in a bolt, and had reached in his hand to give it a last turn when there was a whirring of cog-wheels and a rumbling and clattering of interior mechanism, and he felt his shirt snatched up and his arm drawn in. He could do nothing. The noise of the machinery would drown his voice if he would shout ever so loud. His arm was in the grasp of a machine as strong as five hundred men such as he. He didn't know how the machine could be stopped, because he didn't know how it had been started. Then he felt the machine grind his fingers. He shrieked aloud, but the roar of his strange captor buried his voice. Suddenly after a lengthened quiver the machine stopped, the cogs ceased to turn, the wheels ceased to revolve. He drew his hand out, or rather what was left of it, for three of his fingers were only bloody stumps. The old man is even more sanguine now than ever. He has arrived at that stage of lunacy in this queer hallucination, when he believes that after he gets one more bolt accurately set in, the machine will be complete. He had a very narrow escape.

  • "Only a Bolt Lacking.", Detroit Free Press (Detroit, MI): 4, 2 July 1883, 

    Joquina Fouchet, of Louisville, who has spent all his idle time during the last forty years in perfecting a perpetual motion machine, while in the act of putting the missing bolt the other day, set the thing off, and being unable to stop, had to stand idly by and see it mutilate three of his fingers. While the surgeon was trimming up the stumps the old man said exultantly: "It worked splendidly. One more bolt and it will run forever."