From Kook Science
AP press photo, c. 1928
|Born||3 June 1898|
Hyndman, Bedford, Pennsylvania
|Died||19 March 1961 (62)|
Orange Co., California
|Known for||Hendershot Fuelless Motor|
Lester Jennings Hendershot (June 3, 1898 - April 19, 1961) was an American inventor who drew press attention for his fuelless motor during the late 1920s.
- AP (25 Feb. 1928), "DENIES LINDBERGH BACKS AIRPLANE", Santa Cruz Evening News (Santa Cruz, Cal.), https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SCEN19280225.1.1&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN
Major Thomas G. Lanphier, flight commander at Selfridge field, told The Associated Press today that experiments are being made at the field with an airplane motor operated electro-magnetically without fuel, but that nothing definite as to its practicability had been developed. The flight commander said that the motor invented by Lester J. Hendershot, a Pittsburgh electrical engineer, 'may or may not amount to anything,' depending upon future tests. Major Lanphier also was authority for the statement that Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh witnessed an experiment with the motor yesterday in a hangar at the field but he declared that Lindbergh merely was an 'interested spectator,' and had no connection with the invention. The major, who said he also witnessed the test of the motor, appeared enthusiastic over it but declined to discuss the possibility of it revolutionizing automotive power. He refused to discuss details of the motor, but William B. Stout, president of the Stout Air Service, Inc., who said he viewed the model in Pittsburgh three weeks ago, declared it draws its energy directly from electrical currents in the air or ground. Stout said the demonstration he saw was very impressive, and 'actually uncanny' and said he would like to see a large model operated.
- UP (25 Feb. 1928), "LINDBERGH AND BACKERS HOT ON INVENTION TRAIL - QUARTETTE LEAVE IN PLANE ON FUELLESS ENGINE BUSINESS", Healdsburg Tribune (Healdsburg, Cal.): 1, https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=HT19280225.2.6&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN
- AP (26 Feb. 1928), "MOTOR CORPORATION PLANNED. Lanphire Says Breckenridge Will File Papers Soon.", Evening Star (Washington, D.C.): 3, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1928-02-26/ed-1/seq-3/
- AP (26 Feb. 1928), "Lindbergh's Interest in Free Energy Motor Not Financial, Major Claims", San Bernardino Sun (San Bernardino, Cal.): 3, https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SBS19280226.1.3&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN
- AP (28 Feb. 1928), "DEFENDS MOTOR FOR AIRPLANES", Santa Cruz Evening News 41 (101): 1, https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SCEN19280228.1.1&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN
Although his 'fuelless' motor has been characterized as impractical and 'not a motor at all' but a generator, Lester J. Hendershot, of West Elizabeth, Pa., today stood by his assertion that it works. The motor, described by the twenty-nine-year-old inventor as deriving its power from the magnetic fields of the earth, was said by F. W. Hochstetter, of the Hochstetter research laboratories here, to be a 'generator and not a motor at all,' obtaining 'its electricity from a concealed carbon pencil battery.' When informed of the statement of Hochstetter, Hendershot said he had used carbon pencil cells while experimenting in an effort to take electricity from the air, but that the present motor utilized 'the magnet field set up by the earth' and no other power.
- NEA (2 Mar. 1928), "BANDIT'S BULLET LEADS TO FUELLESS TOY MOTOR THAT MAY STIR WORLD", Indianapolis Times (Indianapolis, Ind.) 39 (255): 13, https://newspapers.library.in.gov/cgi-bin/indiana?a=d&d=IPT19280302.1.13&e=-------en-20--1--txt-txIN
- ES (9 Mar. 1928), "'FUELLESS' MOTOR INVENTOR IS PATIENT AT D.C. HOSPITAL: Lester Hendershot Undergoing Treatment for Mysterious Injuries. Victim Reported Suffering From Attack of Paralysis. Facts Suppressed.", Evening Star (Washington, D.C.): 1, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1928-03-09/ed-1/seq-1/
- AP (15 Mar. 1928), "FUELLESS MOTOR USES SOME FUEL", Santa Cruz Evening News 41 (115), https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SCEN19280315.1.1&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN
An associate of Lester J. Hendershot, young inventor in a hospital here, now claims that the motor which the latter had evolved is not 'fuelless' at all. 'The nearest definition that I can give for the motor,' says J. Barr Peat, business partner of the twenty-nine-year-old inventor, 'is that it is uncanny in operation.' Reports that the motor was capable of operating without fuel he terms as 'the bunk.' Hendershot, injured last week while he was believed to have been experimenting with the contraption, is recuperating in the hospital from an electric shock. Barr also denies that Colonel Lindbergh has been approached regarding the invention and says he intends to make an announcement some time soon, at the same time answering the rebuke to backers of the motor by Porter Adams, president of the National Aeronautic association, who said it was 'regrettable' that no definite statement had been made regarding it.
- Brown, Cecil B. (22 May 1935), "Inventions That Almost Worked - Lindbergh, Other Aviation Experts Fooled By Fuelless Motor - Great Possibilities Seen Until Battery Is Found In Coils", Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, Pa.): 23, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/146608804
Hendershot insists that the principle of terrestrial magnetism is still workable — but usable for no mechanism larger than that found in an ordinary clock. He clings to the notion that the furore over his invention came, not from his own enthusiasm, but from "the extravagant ideas of others." "I still maintain that the device can develop power in minute quantities. Of course, I used a small battery. That's how I got my power. A six-volt battery would agitate the magnet and develop say 25 or 30 volts — step it up, that's all I did."