From Kook Science
Silas Noel Hodges (June 9, 1881[i] - September 16, 1949) was an American shoemaker, minister, and inventor who, in 1911, was reported to have developed a gravity-based perpetual motion machine. However, as far as we have been able to ascertain, the discovery was never again reported on after the original story circulated, despite the apparent interest of an unnamed "large manufacturing company".
- "PERPETUITY OF MOTION FOUND BY KENTUCKIAN, He Thinks — Model Has Been Going for the Past Eight Months.", Hartford Herald (Hartford, KY): 1, 2 Aug. 1911, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84037890/1911-08-02/ed-1/seq-1/
Frankfort, Ky., July 29. — Investigation by a large manufacturing company is being made of what is claimed to be a perpetual motion machine perfected by Noel Hodges, of Frankfort. Mr. Hodges claims that the small model which he has at his home on Holmes street has been running for eight months, without any means of propulsion outside of the power the machine itself generates. He claims that the machine will produce power enough to run an electric fan or small dynamo and he says he has refused an offer of $50,000 for his invention.
Hodges has been working on his invention for years, quietly and without anybody knowing what he was doing, and he has just made public the fact that he has solved the problem of perpetual motion which has driven so many men to the insane asylums during the hundreds of years that the inventors have been struggling with the task. Mr. Hodges says he will not sell for $50,000, although he is poor, for he knows that his invention is worth many times that amount. He says the machine has been examined by experts and they have agreed with him that he had solved the difficult problem of making a machine that will run until it wears out without the use of springs, compressed air or any other motive power.
The invention is a wheel with steel balls at the end of rods on one side of the wheel, the weight of these being enough, Hodges says, to drive the wheel on around. He says the welcomes investigation of the invention and would be glad to have anybody show him any flaw in it. It is probable that scientists from several sections of the country will come to Frankfort to examine the invention and see if it is what it is claimed to be.
- Hodges's death certificate reports his birth year as 1879, contrary to U.S. Census records from 1910-1940 and WWI/WWII military draft registrations that consistently give his birth year as 1881.