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Howard R. Johnson

June 1, 1919 to January 2, 2008

In Memoriam
© Tom Bearden 2008

 Sadly, one of the real pioneers and inspirations in the emerging field of magnetic energy from the vacuum via asymmetric magnetic systems has passed away early in January. Howard Johnson was a truly noble person and my friend for many years, during which time he introduced me to several novel effects in magnets and magnetic materials, and freely showed me the results of his years of very hard effort. Twice to my personal knowledge he did successfully build a self-rotating permanent magnet machine, only to have it promptly stolen in professional break-ins to his laboratory.  In memoriam, I wish to tell a little of Howard’s life and achievements, and to express my strong personal appreciation for his having been my good friend for three decades.

Howard Richmond Johnson was born at Wise, Virginia on June 1, 1919 and passed away on Jan. 2, 2008 in Blacksburg, Virginia. He is survived by his beloved wife Gladys, a brother Alvin P. Johnson, and five children: (1) Laura Ruth Marthas, (2) Linda Knoblet, (3) Donald Johnson, (4) Elizabeth Basle, and (5) John Johnson. His father and mother, William Andrew Johnson and Ida Crouse Johnson, are deceased, as are his three brothers Albert B. Johnson, William H. Johnson, and Calvin B. Johnson.

According to Science & Mechanics, Johnson was and is directly connected with (and responsible for) more than 30 patents in significant chemistry and physics apparatuses and processes.

Howard graduated from the Christopher Gist High School in Pound in 1940. From there he attended Scarritt College in Nashville and obtained an AB degree in 1943, and then did three years of graduate work in those science areas that so interested him. In the U.S. Navy in WW II, he developed a better system for coding and decoding. It was accepted by the Navy and patented; and it is still highly classified. As the director of Howard Johnson Electrostatics & Electronics from 1948 to 1950, he developed a new painless electromagnetic hypodermic and invented an electrostatic dispersal unit for the microtome (a medical machine used for slicing imbedded tissues to put on slides for microscopic diagnosis). As an Engineer in the Experimental Reactor Division of the Atomic Energy Commission in Oak Ridge Tennessee from 1950 to 1952, he developed pump seals for 1500° F and two lubricants for this temperature. From 1952 to 1958, as the Director of Electronics & Electrostatics, Inc. he developed switches and also new methods of silencing various types of equipment, for the CIA and the U.S. Military. He also produced and delivered 100,000 units to outboard customers, including several highly classified products, in 18 months. One of his ceramic mufflers renders a motor-generator silent at about 50 feet; this is a production unit and well tested. He has produced classified mufflers for small motors, e.g., that render a chain saw’s motor “silent to the listener’s ear” at about 12 to 15 feet.

From 1958 to 1960 he was the Director of Research at Sorrells Johnson Corp. From 1960 to 1966 he was a consultant and also directed his own research laboratory. From 1966 to 1968 he was a chemistry instructor at Cedarville College, Cedarville, Ohio.

From 1968 to 1972 he was a Senior Research Chemist in the Research Division of Kelsey Hayes Corp. Here he developed a new type of 92 pole permanent magnet generator and also developed non-locking brake materials for automobiles and motorcycles.

From 1972 until his death in 2008 he was the Director of Research & Development for his own company, the Permanent Magnet Research Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia. There he was very noted for his work to attain asymmetric and thus finally self-powering permanent magnet systems, experimenting with hundreds of designs and build-ups and with several very novel but legitimate magnetic effects that do provide the necessary broken symmetry in the magnetic assemblies themselves. One such little known but useful highly asymmetric effect is the evocation of the exchange force violent magnetic pulse in materials, producing a sudden, momentary magnetic field which may two or three hundred times as strong as the normal magnetic field being used. Several of his magnetic motor approaches used the self-evoking of this pulsed very strong exchange force to momentarily overcome the back mmf region magnetic force field, thus producing a self-rotating asymmetric permanent magnet motor.

For many years, Howard worked closely with Professor William Harrison and his associates at Virginia Polytechnic Institute there in Blacksburg, Virginia. Professor Harrison developed mathematical modeling and detailed computerized measuring of the specially shaped magnetic fields surrounding Johnson’s asymmetric magnets and their movements. This was a valuable help to Johnson in optimizing and testing his experimental designs.

In any permanent magnet motor or propulsion unit, it is the broken symmetry created in the magnetic fields of the magnets that provides the propulsive power. We may either put in a coil or some such and then “pay” for the energy pulsing ourselves, necessary to break that symmetry in the back mmf region. Or, we may utilize some of nature’s asymmetry mechanisms to get the materials themselves to freely furnish that broken symmetry at the precise timing and in the precise direction to momentarily overcome and eliminate the back mmf.  In that case, the motor shaft and flywheel accelerates in the forward mmf zone, and does not decelerate in the usual back mmf zone because that zone either has been zeroed or even reversed momentarily. So the shaft and flywheel gain free extra angular momentum (energy x time) on every rotation, and a drag load can then be added to the shaft to decelerate the shaft and flywheel back to “normal”, thus being freely powered by the free angular momentum transferred to the load.

My personal friend and close colleague Ken Moore professionally and independently measured one of Howard’s propulsive gates here in Huntsville, and meticulously verified its “free propulsive kick” that Johnson had successfully obtained.

While it does not appear in the terribly flawed classical electrical engineering (put together in the 1880s and then arbitrarily symmetrized in 1892 by Lorentz, to eliminate all Johnson-type asymmetric systems), since 1957 and the award of the Nobel Prize to Lee and Yang for their prediction of widespread broken symmetry in physics, we have known that every dipole (e.g., a magnet with separated north and south poles) is a broken symmetry. And as Nobelist Lee states, when we have a broken symmetry, then something previously virtual has become observable. So the broken symmetry of a magnetic dipole freely absorbs virtual photon energy from its ongoing seething interaction with the active virtual state vacuum, coherently sums the successive virtual excitations to the quantum level, and then re-emits a real observable photon – real, usable EM energy, that has been extracted from the seething vacuum. The automatic summation and quantal emission process is ongoing and iterative, so any magnetic (or electrical) dipole continually extracts virtual energy from the active vacuum and outputs the energy as cohered quanta – real, usable, EM energy continuously and freely emitted from the source dipole.

The easiest way to prove this is to lay a charged capacitor or electret across a permanent magnet, so that the E-field of the electrical component is at right angles to the H-field of the magnet. Then by every conventional electrical engineering university textbook in its Poynting energy flow section, that silly gadget will sit there and freely and continuously pour out (emit) real Poynting energy flow S, given by the simple equation S = E ´ H. And if we just leave the simple gadget alone, it will continue to freely pour out real, usable EM energy until the end of time.

Yet there is no observable (quantal) EM energy being input to that device. There is instead the continuous input of virtual (subquantal) energy from the vacuum, and integration of the absorbed virtual state energy into the emitted observable energy. While this is totally outside normal electrical engineering (which erroneously assumes the vacuum to be inert), it is good “modern physics” as shown by Lee and Yang. Again, Nobelist Lee himself pointed out that, whenever we have such a broken symmetry, something virtual becomes observable.

The dipole and its broken symmetry do indeed obey the extended conservation of energy law. But the input energy is in virtual form (subquantal), while the output energy is in observable (quantal) form. But there is no creation of energy from “nothing” in the permissible free energy device.

The world-shackling electrical engineering problem is that, since the arbitrary Lorentz symmetrization of electrical engineering mathematical model in 1892, our electrical engineers have built only symmetrical overall systems – systems which use half their collected free quantal energy from the vacuum to destroy their own source dipolarity faster than they use part of the other half of the free “real EM energy from the vacuum” to power the loads. So to provide a proper “EM energy windmill” capable of (1)  separately intercepting and collecting part of that free EM energy wind from that permanent magnet and its crossed electret, and then (2)  separately dissipating this collected free energy in the loads to power them freely, one must build an asymmetric “EM energy windmill” system. And that is impossible by present electrical engineering standards which only prescribe and permit symmetrical EM systems.

So it is the severe crippling of our standard electrical engineering that is responsible for the world energy crisis and – if we ever wish to permanently and cleanly solve the energy crisis – then the classical EM model must be corrected and seriously updated to add back the asymmetrical Maxwellian systems presently arbitrarily discarded by Lorentz.

Johnson’s epochal work was a very long example of his struggle to build just such long-neglected asymmetrical magnetic systems, which – permissibly – would then freely self-rotate and power the loads, continually and freely “energized” by virtual state energy freely received from the seething vacuum.

Howard had found several effects (notably the exchange force effect discussed in Nobelist Feynman’s three volumes of sophomore physics) which could be evoked and, if evoked with sufficient controlled precision of timing and direction, each could break the symmetry of his magnetic propulsion gates and his rotating machines precisely so as to allow self-powering.

Sadly, the major problem that Howard had all those years was the lack of the very substantial funds necessary to afford high precision machining and cutting of his nonlinear magnets used to make asymmetric assemblies and to evoke the necessary asymmetric forces and pulses. So he personally cut his magnetic materials with a diamond saw himself, which meant that it was nearly impossible for him to attain the “couple thousandths of an inch” precision necessary for the exact timing and directional control of the desired “symmetry-breaking” effects to be evoked.

Nonetheless, he did succeed on at least two occasions. One of those successful self-rotating Johnson machines (in the 1970s) had his magnetic assemblies mounted on a crude “Lazy Susan” turntable. He brought the operating machine down to Huntsville for me to see and examine closely. And I personally played with that machine, with the stator magnet assembly rigidly C-clamped to the table, and the little turntable rotor and rotor magnet just went around and around, slowly but continuously for about two hours – continuously doing real, free work by physically displacing air and overcoming the friction resistance of the crude bearings.

On Howard’s return to Blacksburg, very shortly a break-in occurred at his lab, and the only thing taken from the several hundred thousand dollars worth of assemblies, magnets, etc. was his successful rotary prototype device.

Howard’s improvements on the early microtome were patented and are used in medical centers and clinics and at Johns Hopkins Hospital. His improvements on signal coding and decoding are still classified and in the capable hands of our U.S. military. His brake work and muffler work are also still in use.

For many years his major backer was a Blacksburg realtor, Mr. William Price. William also personally furnished Howard the basement of a nice brick farmhouse, in which to locate his laboratory and keep all his equipment and buildups. The sheer labor and large numbers of different kinds of buildups that Howard produced simply boggle the mind.

My own deep regret is that Howard never had the huge funds required to set up a highly skilled and professional team and pay them to do the necessary work and buildups in parallel, and to use very high precision machining of all his designs and parts. His asymmetric mechanisms were and are quite real and were and are consistent with modern physics – although they were and are understandably inconsistent with the hoary old seriously-flawed 1880s and 1890s symmetrized electrical engineering.

A few typical Howard Johnson patents are:

Johnson, Howard R., "Permanent Magnet Motor." U.S. Patent No. 4,151,431. Apr. 24, 1979.

Johnson, Howard R., "Magnetic Propulsion System," U.S. Patent No. 5,402,021. Mar. 28, 1995.

Johnson, Howard R., "Magnetic Force Generating Method and Apparatus," U.S. Patent No. 4,877,983, Oct. 31, 1989.

Johnson, Howard R., "Pulse Noise Reducer," U.S. Patent No. 3,838,749, Oct. 1, 1974.

Johnson, Howard R. "Muffler," U.S. Patent No. 3,779,339, Dec. 18, 1973.

Johnson, Howard R. “Muffler with plural side branch chambers.” U.S. Patent No. 2,566,939, Sept. 1951.

Johnson, H. “Outboard motor air intake.” U.S. Patent No. 2,914,133, Oct. 1959.

We also point out that in physics there are more than 200 named effects in magnetics. And only about half of them are understood. The other half range from “poorly understood a little bit” to “totally not understood at all”. For many of these effects, I strongly suggest the latest edition of Cullity’s original 1972 book. The new edition is B. D. Cullity and C. D. Graham, Introduction to Magnetic Materials, Wiley-IEEE Press, 2nd Edition, 2007. Howard Johnson used the original 1972 Cullity book for decades, and introduced me to it decades ago. The Cullity book gives these effects in very clear and simple manner, so the new user can readily understand and use them.

In finale, with Johnson’s sad passing we have lost one of our great magnetics pioneers and researchers. He was a good and moral man, religious, devoted to his wife and family, and resoundingly liked by just about everyone who came to know him. He showed me so many new things, new principles, and effects that it made a profound difference in my personal orientation and in the direction I took after Howard became my friend and inspiration.

Our greatest condolences and deepest heartfelt sympathy go to Howard’s family and his close associates. We are very conscious of your great loss, and the loss of a noble and highly inspiring human being. But as Howard so well knew, death is not the end, and it is my firm belief that he has gone on to a far better state and situation. To the end of my life I will strongly continue to treasure my many years of association with Howard, and to appreciate the many insights he gave me. He was a truly great researcher, a pioneer, and a great human being, and we are all forever saddened by his departure.

Most sincerely,

Tom Bearden

29 March 2008

Editor's Note:  Howard Johson is also memorialized in the 90 minute Energetic Productions LLC DVD "Howard Johnson - Magnetic Exchange Force Pioneer," available at which features an extensive interview and Q and A with Howard.  It was filmed in 2005.