An Engineering Mystery From 1915

Update: See end of post for link to original patent.

As seen from prior posts where I’ve published rare writings from Napoleon Hill, and an article about a telegraph geek, it’s worthwhile to dig through old magazines at Google Books.

This morning I was looking through issues of The Square Deal from 1915 and came upon a very intriguing blurb.


So that set me off straight to Wikipedia.

But, surprisingly, there’s no entry for Louis Rota.

There is, however, a wiki for Louis Rota.

He was crucial in the development of radar, so he doesn’t seem to be a crackpot worthy of obscurity. [Third Update: See Comments.]

As for what’s mentioned in the blurb, that seems to be an Aero Radio Balistique.

Here is someone on YouTube with a failed engineering experiment of some of the work that would lead to developing a replica:

So, whatever happened to Rota’s work on that? And what of the other things that Rota worked on?

How could someone who was an actual engineer be so obscure and forgotten to the point that even Wikipedia — which contains just about everything — doesn’t even have an entry for him?

Here is the full page on which the blurb appears:

Update: The original patent — in French, Procédé et appareil pour maintenir un corps en suspension dans l’atmosphère, basé sur les forces électriques et magnétiques — for the thinking behind this can be viewed here.

Second Update: Some people have claimed this is crackpot science and that’s why Rota doesn’t have a Wikipedia page. I’d never heard of the guy until today. Had Tesla never given us AC, would he be seen as a crackpot? How long was Babbage considered a nutter? I’m not qualified to judge the science of this. I just found a weird article that I hoped other people might find interesting and could perhaps shed some light on what happened to the guy and the thing he allegedly built. Whether he was a crackpot or not, though, Wikipedia should make room for him, as it seems to do for everyone else, even the least productive among us — celebrities.


Filed under Uncategorized, Video

27 responses to “An Engineering Mystery From 1915

  1. Who was the “Petit Parisien” Journalist ? Because, the way it is presented, the journalist could have made up the whole story.

    • mikecane

      Click through the link for the device — vehicle? — and you will see a replica of the original French article at the wiki.

    • John

      It’s a renowned News Paper at the time , and also you may want to go to Google Newspaper Archives where u will find 2 newspaper “the Bryan Times & Eugene something reporting on it as well .

      This is serious now 99 years later we start asking questions again because since those days ( little later ) they have been manipulating all sciences so as to keep us away from such technology .

      Also Schauberger and Grebennikov are individuals that based on Natures Anti Gravity ( in Bugs , Fish & few other animals ) created anigravity devices . One of which was replicated and called the avion.pdf in italian by russians ( dangerous stuff ! )

  2. This takes me by complete surprise. I have studied aviation history thoroughly and have never come across this engineer. I am of the opinion that early aviators did not consider his machine to be a good aviation device. In my mind this really sounds like a good basis for a science fiction story. Good find. Thanks.

  3. valaki

    “He was crucial in the development of radar…”
    Could you give us a reference to this claim other than his fan site?

  4. additivity

    Reblogged this on additivity and commented:
    I thought this was quite interesting!

  5. Bob

    It was seized by the Italian government and later given to the Nazis, where it then got into American hands and led to the start of the UFO phenomenon. DUH!

    You don’t want that kind of stuff to be well-known. You want it to remain obscure.

  6. I read the patent yesterday evening. It was submitted to the French Office National de la Propriété Industrielle by Monsieurs Louis Rota and George Milienne in 1913 and granted in 1920. If the criteria required to obtain a patent haven’t changed over the years, to be awarded a patent, an invention must be new and non-obvious and must produce a physical effect. However, there is nothing that says that an invention that is patented must actually work.

    Patents from this era are generally much less instructive than are patents today, so it’s no surprise that this one is essentially a description of the construction of the device, with several drawings and indications of the electromagnetic properties of the materials from which it should be made. There is little explanation of the principle behind it or how it works. I’ve quickly translated two relevant paragraphs:

    “Summary: Procedure and apparatus for maintaining a body suspended in the atmosphere and that consists of producing, in thin sheets of good conducting material and in suitably arranged magnets that the apparatus carries, magnetic fields, reversible at will and in such a way that they are submitted to an attraction on the part of the atmosphere and a repulsion on the part of the earth. The necessary electrical current will be provided by a battery or other generator mounted in the apparatus or still further by a conducting wire or electrical waves.”

    The last paragraph of the description, which refers to the drawings of the apparatus, gives some additional hints:

    “Given that the electrical state of the atmosphere is not stable and that it can vary, the apparatus has been fitted with a means to change the connections of the inductive solenoids 17, 18, 19 in such a fashion that in case of need, the disks 12 and 14 can be the center of fields of opposite polarities and of a sort that the apparatus always produces magnetic fields such that it is always submitted to an attraction on the part of the electrical forces of the atmosphere and a repulsion on the part of the magnetism of the earth.”

    The patent doesn’t say anything about gravity.

    I haven’t attempted to make any calculations or physical analysis of the device based on it’s description. Electricity and magnetism wasn’t my best subject when I received my Ph. D. in Astrophysics, but until someone can provide a convincing detailed physical explanation of exactly how this could work, I remain extremely skeptical.

    • John

      The patent doesn’t say anything about gravity ?

      Read the Newspaper articles of the time of witnesses observing it , 1000’s actually in 2 US Newspaper i Google Archive .

      Can you rationalise Cold fusion fro us ? Seen as PHD’s all over the world destroyed Cold fusion & TODAY the same people are ashamed to admit that they destroyed 2 renowned & honest scientists LIVES !

      Whilst they replicated cold fusion experimentally for EVERYONE to see ( including the CNN reporter who was part of IGNORANT PHD’s & who took THEIR OWN scientists to make sure it really existed .

      OOOO the expression of their faces .. “priceless” !

      Embarrassed , ashamed & confused .

      thats what YOU will be IF you don’t get your head around it .

      Schauberger , Gebennikov are 2 that used Nature as a basis for their different Antigravitaional effects of Nature .

      Both built Anti Gravity devices ( as Louis Rota who claimed he could build also a engine based on the same science )

      Schaubergers implosine & his Die Glocke device both antigravity .

      Gebennikovs device was re-engineered by Russians writing in a Italian pdf called avion.pdf ( dangerous as we not suppose to fly around defying anti gravity )

      I can supply you with many Mathematical references ( Schauberges son a Mathematician later showed his fathers theories( observations) in Maths .

      And Grebennikov was a mathematician .

      Also go and read a bit about Prof Panos Pappas on panospappas. gr

  7. Pingback: My daily readings 02/04/2012 « Strange Kite

  8. Not sure why I didn’t think of this earlier, but I went to Gallica, the digital library of the Bibliothèque National de France to look for the article mentioned in The Square Deal. I found it fairly quickly using the site’s search engine.

    The description of the device there is so surprising that I feel sure that if there had been anything to it, it would not have been relegated to the obscurity of the dust bin but would be known to us today.

    I’ve made a quick translation into English. The original can be found here.

    Le Petit Parisien
    Wednesday 15, September, 1915


    The immobilization of a body in space
    (From our private correspondent)
    Marseille, 14 September

    An Italian engineer, M. Louis Rota, is working at this time in his workshop on Lieutaud drive, in Marseille, on perfecting a discovery that is thought will have a great deal of impact.

    If the results conform to his expectation, M. Rota would have solved the problem of immobilizing a body in space.

    Without going into the details that are the secret of the inventor, here is what we can say about this subject:

    M. Rota has constructed an apparatus that, automatically, rises in the air to a height varying between 600 and 1000 meters; there, this apparatus can, according to the desires of the engineer, remain absolutely motionless or move in a given direction at a speed of 200 km/hour, and that without the aid of any mechanical motor, under the sole influence of electric waves.

    The apparatus is in the form of a rocket; its length is 4m and it’s maximum diameter is 75 cm; it can raise and transport a mass of 45 kilograms.

    This apparatus remains absolutely motionless in a wind of 14 m/s. In a stream of a greater velocity, it moves vertically until it is above the stream, where it returns to its motionless state.

    The principle of the new invention rests on the reactions (attraction or repulsion) obtained, by means that are secret to the engineer, from the magnetic and electric forces of the atmosphere.

    If this problem, as claimed by the engineer Rota, is solved, one sees what splendid applications of it could result.

    We would like to point out some reserves on the subject of this discovery, which seems to be a real scientific paradox, even though our correspondent believes to be able, within a certain measure, to guarantee the serious nature of it.

  9. DX

    It’s sad that you naysayers are ignorant enough to think this would actually make it to the public if it worked. Tesla accomplished more than Thomas Edison, but I have NEVER seen his name in a college textbook. He’s been intentionally removed from general public education.

    Does this make Tesla a fraud?

    Tesla also claimed his greatest invention was a flying machine.
    Coincidence? I think not.

  10. Elena

    I stumbled across the strange and controversial research works of Luigi Rota just recently – and I too was VERY disappointed for finding no entry on Wikipedia, what I judge a serious fault. Wikipedia, being ultimately an Encyclopedia, must be a valuable resource to find informations about every people who gained some popularity, and not necessarily because they belong to mainstream science rather than fringe science (this is how I judged him from the few info on WikiRota, a fringe-scientist, not necessarily a crackpot).
    To the same proposal I must cite another similar case, it’s about the Italian pseudo-scientist Pierluigi Ighina. Well, an (Italian) Wikipedia entry does exist for him nonetheless – while no entry exists for Rota, neither Italian not French ones. Somebody skilled with Wikipedia rules should really contribute setting up an entry for him…

    • John

      Wikipedia is part of suppresing such information . Go to to see what exists in thsiw orld . Everything was invented 1000’s of years ago AND reinvented 100 years ago !

      And then 50- years ago the BS started , organised BS’ig by control of Academics .

      read a electrical engineering book of pre 1960 and you will find “overunity” more energy out than in shown as potentials … even if in the same books they acknowledge the existence of a energy

      Go to google Newpaper archive and look for Louis Rota in “Louis Rota”

      There use to be 3 articles now there are only 2 !

      Many People saw Louis Rotas device fly , 1000’s and the speed 200 kph +- with a tiny engine that he claimed he would repace by using same technology as he used for the antigravity .

      See … free energy is ant gravity ( at least partial ) . Either you use the free energy … for powering things … or you don’t use it just let it accumulate and it creates antigravity

  11. Mark

    why is the video private?

  12. James Brown

    He had apparently discovered a way of directing an energy beam of some type at metallic objects such as ships, aircraft etc, which, provided the frequency/resonance used matched the resonance of substances contained within the metallic structure that the target object was constructed from, would turn the metal to dust, thus destroying the target. To me this sounds similar to Tesla’s vibrating box that nearly destroyed the apartment block he was living in when he tried it out. It also sounds like what Dr. Judy Wood claims was the cause of the buildings at the WTC to turn to dust and leave very little rubble after 9/11.

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