From the files of Stephen
It is a pleasure to annouce that this 1961 booklet is still available for purchase from the Orford Historical Society. The booklet has 24 pages, seven of which contain a total of 11 illustrations not available here. To obtain a copy, remit $6.00 ($5 for the booklet and $1 for shipping) payable to the Orford Historical society to:
Orford Historical Society
Post Office Box 44
Orford, NH 03777
The late Alice Doan Hodgson of Orford, NH, wrote a number of publications concerning the history and families of her town and environs, including Thanks to the Past, Samuel Morey: Inventor Extraordinary, Historic Mill Sites of Orford, New Hampshire, and Orford, New Hampshire: A Most Beautiful Village. All of these publications are profusely illustrated and contain extensive family history information. Mrs. Hodgson might be considered the unofficial town publicist and historian during the last half of the 20th century. She generously exchanged family history information in private correspondence with this compiler and with many others with ancestral roots in Orford.
Details concerning the Morey family appear elsewhere in KINNEXIONS, notably in the Morey Register Report, the Morey Family Narrative and Morey Letters Patent. Brief Biographical Sketches of many other Orford families from the Appendix to Centenial Celebration of the Town of Orford, N.H. are also available.
The text of Samuel Morey: Inventor Extraordinary is presented here without the dozen illustrations in the original. The author would have probably been the first to admit that she held Samuel Morey in high respect, and desired to provide him with the credit his inventive genius deserved. While the factual information and selected quotations included in the booklet are accurate, the reader might also desire to read a book focusing more on technical details and historical background concerning the development of the internal combustion engine. Samuel Morey and his Atmospheric Engine, by Horst O. Hardenberg (Feb. 1992: Publication SP-922 of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., Warrendale, PA) is one of a number of SAE publications by the author, and includes extensive illustrations, source references and texts of historical documents. Mr. Hardenberg also includes several pages of biographical material by Mrs. Hodgson and acknowledges her efforts in publicizing the accomplishments of Samuel Morey.
OF ORFORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE
HISTORICAL FACT PUBLICATIONS
© Copyright 1961 · Alice Doan Hodgson
ORFORD · NEW HAMPSHIRE
Aug. 1999 - Specific permission
is granted by the heirs of the author to place the following text
on the web site
of Stephen M. Lawson, with reproduction in any form restricted to non-commercial, personal and research use.
THE ADVENT of the horseless carriage occurred within the memory
of many persons living today. If the world had listened to a man
by the name of Samuel Morey, an inventor who patented an internal
combustion machine as early as 1826, the automobile would have
been tooling along the roads of America some half a century and
more before the construction of Charles E. Duryea's first gasoline
motor car In 1891-92.
Samuel Morey lived in the little New Hampshire village of Orford on the Connecticut River. He was a mill owner and lumberman, the son of one of Orford's first settlers. Though a man of property and position in the community, he entertained strange notions which often caused heads to shake and fingers to be pointed at foreheads. Among other things, he believed that steam power could be harnessed to boats for propulsion. Who but a fool would hold with such nonsense?
Morey's first experiments with steam resulted in a patent for a turning spit granted in 1793. It was an important moment in his life when this document arrived from Philadelphia bearing the illustrious signatures of George Washington, President of the United States, and Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State. His wife, Hannah, surely forgave him then for purloining her best household kettle to fashion his spit. She must already have discovered how useful a purpose it served. It was a simple device. A pipe carried steam from the kettle and directed it onto the flies of a wheel placed within the chimney. The force of the steam turned the wheel, setting the spit in motion by means of a pulley. The contraption enabled Hannah to go about her business with no concern for the birds roasting untended on her spit, a vast improvement over the old hand-turned method that roasted the cook as well as the bird. Other people soon saw the advantage of the invention and Morey began manufacturing steam spits for receptive customers.
Encouraged by this modest success, Morey concentrated on realizing his dream of constructing a steamboat. Heads commenced to shake again. A steam spit was not so daft, but a boat-well! Morey disregarded the derisive comments of his so-called friends and diligently worked away -it his steam engine. He had been experimenting with the idea of a steamboat since 1790. Two years later his boat was ready for a trial run on the Connecticut River. It was a crude affair, merely a log dugout to which a paddle wheel was attached at the bow. There was barely space to accommodate the engine and boiler, with a stack of wood for the fire and Morey himself. Hoping to conduct his test unobserved, Morey carted his steamboat down to the town landing on a Sunday morning when he supposed all of Orford would be in church where they belonged. Contrary to expectation he encountered a group of boys by the riverside playing hookey from Sunday meeting. No doubt his young audience hooted and jeered at the odd contr'vance while Morey, undaunted, lighted a fire and got up steam; but taunts must have turned to stunned amazement when the boat began to navigate upstream at five miles an hour. Years later one of the boys was pleased to claim the distinction of witnessing this event in an account of what he saw, written for the Boston Recorder in 1858.
The upshot of it all was that Morey went to New York in an effort to commercialize his invention. He worked there three summers building a boat for exhibition, making improvements in his engine and changing the position of the paddle wheel from the bow to the stern. In the spring of 1797 he "Invited the attention of Chancellor Livingston." The Chancellor, his brother Edward, their cousin judge Henry Brockholst Livingston, their brother-in-law John Stevens (inventor of note himself) and others "went with me in the boat," Morey states, "from the ferry as far as Greenwich and back, and they expressed great satisfaction at her performance and with the engine."
Satisfaction or not, it was Fulton, as everyone knows, whom the Chancellor backed in financing the first commercially successful steamboat. Morey took the blow hard. He felt he had been unfairly used and once told Fulton as much on board Fulton's steamboat with him. To others he expressed himself more forcefully, growling "Blast his belly! He stole my patent!" The fact of the matter is that Morey's patent neglected to mention his most important discovery, the effective use of two paddle wheels, one on each side of the boat, an improvement he devised in the summer of 1797. This was long before the launching in 1802 Of Symington's British steamboat equipped with a stern paddle wheel and may rightly be considered the first successful solution to steamboat propulsion. To be sure, other American inventors had operated steamboats before Morey's attempts. James Rumisey launched a boat in 1787 with a steam pump to force water from the stern of the boat, obtaining a jet propulsion action. John Fitch's steamboat of 1786 was set in motion by a series of paddles which managed to row it in the manner of a waddling duck. In 1789 Nathan Reed ran a ferry service with a paddle type steamboat, but as yet no one had realized the superior advantage of a paddle wheel. The screw propeller used by John Stevens and the work of Oliver Evans, who tested a stern paddle wheel steamboat in 1804, were both subsequent to Morey's experiments. It appears, then, that Samuel Morey with his early paddle wheel at the bow of his boat, later at the stern, and finally its development into a wheel at each side of the boat, was ahead of others in demonstrating the answer to steamboat navigation. Fulton had seen Symington's stern paddle wheel of 1802. Livingston had seen Morey's side paddle wheels of 1797. Together they worked out a commercially successful steamboat enterprise using other men's ideas. Their engine was a Bolton and Watt product, their paddle wheels the result of an unknown Yankee's practical vision and effort. It is unfortunate that Morey patented "a steam engine to propel boats" and not his steam powered side paddle wheels, leaving Fulton legally, if not morally, free to adopt the method.
Morey swallowed his natural anger and continued to produce a variety of inventions. Over a period of forty years he received a total of twenty patents. One of these, issued in 1817, was the patent for his American Water Burner which manufactured water gas for heating and lighting purposes. Again Morey had achieved a first. In 1792 Murdock lighted his house and factory in Cornwall with coal gas. London streets were lighted with coal gas in 1812. It was not, however, until 1875 that water gas prepared by the interaction of heated carbon and steam was employed in America for heating and illuminating purposes. Morey's home in Orford was the first by half a century to be heated and lighted by this water gas. He tells of an experimental lamp giving as much light as six candles, and stoves made of brick in his house which burned from nine o'clock at night until nine, ten and eleven the next day, "keeping the room entirely warm, during the coldest nights of the winter past." This was written to Professor Silliman of Yale University in 1820 and published in Silliman's American Journal of Science and Arts with a footnote by Silliman remarking: "The climate of Orford is severe-thermometer in the winter occasionally from 20° to 30° of Fah. below 0. Mr. Morey does not state how it has been there during the late cold winter."
When word first got around that Sam Morey was attempting to burn water, the people of Orford were once more convulsed by paroxysms of laughter. The fact that he succeeded left them speechless, except for a young boy who saw the burner in action and reported in amazement, "By George! He got it so it sparkled on the wick!" He was unable to believe there was no wick, that the flame was simply the result of igniting a mixture of steam and the vapour of heated turpentine or other suitable substances. Morey lists the use of tar, rosin, alcohol, fat or tallow oil, mineral coal, pitch-pine wood, birch bark knots and the seeds of pumpkin, flax or sunflower plants. He tested all of these in countless experiments to perfect his lamps and stoves. One of the purposes to which he applied his burner was for heating the water of steam engine boilers. It was thus used successfully by John Sullivan in a boat equipped with a revolving steam engine of Morey's design. Mr. Sullivan found it twice as economical as the usual wood fire. Morey also suggested that his water burner could he used to light streets or houses and for fuel in cooking stoves. He foretold the coming event of central heating plants by the statement that heat could be piped from his burner to any desired location for warming houses.
It was during his experiments with the water burner that Morey received the inspiration for his gas or vapour engine, if so mild a term may be applied to the violently explosive event. In a letter to Professor Silliman Morey says, "Having accidentally discovered that the vapour of water and that of spirit of turpentine, when mixed with a very great proportion of atmospheric air, were highly explosive -- I have been endeavouring to produce therefrom a useful mechanical power." He goes on to tell of his various experiments and to describe the machine which finally evolved from them. In view of the unfortunate result of his dealings with Chancellor Livingston it is interesting to note his remark to Silliman: "It will not, I trust, appear surprising that these improvements [the gas or vapour engine] are patented." One of the witnesses to Morey's patent specifications was William Thornton, the same presumably who was the first clerk of the Patent Office, the original architect of the Capitol building in Washington and an inventor of sorts himself.
Two years prior to his letter to Silliman, Morey wrote a similar account of his accidental discovery. The article, dated October 5th, 1824, remained among his possessions with the notation, "Papers prepared for publication but not sent." It is possible that he prudently decided to await the receipt of a patent before publicizing his work, or perhaps, being so frequently a prey to ridicule, he feared the reception of his great news. In his unpublished version, as in his letter to Silliman, he refers to the unintentional explosion that projected his mind into the realm of the internal combustion machine. "Accident," he says, "has given the Mechanical World a new Power." No colorful details amplify the brief statement to satisfy trivial curiosity. We are told only that the unexpected explosion was "more violent than that of gunpowder" and are given a glimpse of his inventive turn of mind by his reaction to the accident. The ordinary mortal might have feared for his life, taking care to avoid a recurrence of, the dangerous mishap. Not so Morey with his constructive intellect. He promptly set out to repeat the performance in such a way as to control and use the explosive power.
Lacking details of the unexpected explosion, imagination pictures Morey's wife knitting peacefully one day by the fire when a loud blast from his workshop propels her out of her chair in a terrified dash to see if her husband is still among the living. Poor Hannah had many a harrowing moment. There was the time a boiler exploded, and now his water burner had blown up. Later, when he rigged his new gas engine to a wagon to test its power, the thing got away from him and crashed into the wall of his workshop. Explosive blasts, splintering crashes, even inhuman shrieks issued from that workshop of his. It was enough to give a woman nervous prostration. If the aforesaid piercing shrieks sent Hannah running to discover their cause, she was undoubtedly startled to find her husband prone on the floor of his shop blowing happily into a tin box topped by a tube ten feet high. This was one of the many and varied experiments arising out of his work with the gas engine. His tube was protected at the joints by his patented wire gauze to permit the passage of air without risk of explosion. The temperature of the box was raised to blood heat and the vapour of spirits of turpentine was made to pass through the tube. When a flame was applied to the top of the tube, the vapour took fire and ran down the tube to the wire gauze where it continued to burn secluded from the surrounding atmosphere. If the tube rose eight or ten feet above the wire gauze the vapour burned steadily without air being introduced, "but," says Morey, "blow into the box a puff of air, even with the mouth, and it gives instantly a shrill shriek, if I may use that term, which may be heard hundreds of yards." To his suggestion "if the tube were extended to a given height the sound would undoubtedly be perpetual" Hannah must have replied, Heaven forbid! while steeling herself for whatever noises he chose to make and wondering who could possibly want them to be perpetual. He advised anyone caring to create a similar disturbance to vary the quantity of air driven in and "you will soon discover a proportion that will give firstly perhaps soft and pleasant sounds, singularly musical, or perhaps ... you will hear ... a shrill purring sound. A little practice will enable you to give the most soft and pleasant notes or those of a shrill purring tremulous sound nearly or quite insupportable." An insupportable noise was hardly welcome around the house, but Morey thought his weird instrument might be put to some good use, possibly in a glass tube as a combination beacon light and warning signal for lighthouses.
Considering the new power in relation to its use in an engine to produce force or motion, Morey invented a machine which, according to Charles E. Duryea, was the first successfully designed forerunner of the internal combustion machine. His problem, first of all, was to manufacture his highly explosive mixture as needed and next to control the explosions. His final step, as stated in his notes, was to construct an engine which would unite the force of the explosion with that of the accompanying vacuum safely, simply and inexpensively. In the end he had a carburetor which he aptly called his "preparing box." This apparatus could be made in an endless variety of forms, one of which Morey described and recommended as perfectly safe and as convenient as any. It was a tin box four or five inches wide, about fourteen inches long and seven inches deep, divided horizontally into four or five compartments by partitions extending from one end of the box to within a short distance of the other end. Air entering at the lower part would be compelled by the partitions to travel the whole length of the box through each compartment in its ascent to the top. The compartments were divided by vertical partitions into half inch spaces, except where the air entered and passed out, thus effecting a rapid mixture of the air and vapour and preventing violence in an explosion, should one occur in the box. Fuel was put into the lower compartment of the preparing box and warmed to blood heat by a small lamp. The fuel could be alcohol or spirit of turpentine and water, or any other material capable of evaporation whose vapour was inflammable when combined with air. This fuel, after being heated to vapour, was mixed with air entering at the lower compartment from a tube covered with wire gauze to prevent premature explosion.
As for the exploding part of the machine, another tube and wire gauze at the upper compartment of the preparing box carried the inflammable air to a cylinder where a rising piston, upon reaching the fuel tube opening, allowed a charge of explosive air to enter the cylinder into which a valve had already admitted fresh air. Another valve closed the fuel supply pipe. Simultaneously a third valve opened and shut just long enough to permit the flame of a lamp to be drawn into the supply pipe by the action of the ascending piston, igniting the trail and being instantly communicated to the charge in the cylinder.
The charge exploded and created a vacuum by driving out the fresh air through a perforated arched plate and leather valve at the bottom of the cylinder. This valve then instantly collapsed preventing the return of air. The steam formed by the explosion and formation of the vacuum was condensed by surrounding the lower part of the cylinder with water and by causing the vacuum to inject a small stream of cold water near the bottom which also cooled the arched plate and leather valve. The piston over the vacuum descending by means of atmospheric pressure moved a crank shaft which turned a flywheel, and there was Morey's new mechanical power, ready to be harnessed to whatever machine was required. The same process, he advised, could be repeated in a second cylinder, or even in a four cylinder engine if the air was constantly blown through the preparing box.
For the technically minded reader (others may skip the next two paragraphs), Duryea states that Morey's most important advance came when he learned that by fitting a valved passage through the piston and extending the cylinder above the top-most position of the piston the explosion would partly expend itself into the space above. In Morey's own words: "The effect is, that the quantity of air above the piston Is nearly doubled; its elasticity or force is also greatly increased, by a great increase of its temperature. It now reacts on the piston, while a vacuum below adds greatly to the effect. This mode acts with great energy in a small space."
"Can anyone doubt," asks Duryea, "that Morey sensed correctly the needs of the motor vehicle? To better understand this great step forward, he continues, "let us see just what his engine as just described does. On the up-stroke the piston compresses whatever is above it -- air or burned cooled gas -- just as does any modern engine. As it nears the top it draws in a charge of mixture between the main and charging pistons. Ignition expands part of this burning charge through the piston valve into the space above with consequent rise in pressure which forces the piston down with great power aided by the vacuum underneath. Modern engines draw the fuel charge in on the down stroke and compress on the up. Modern Diesels compress air on the up and inject the fuel just before ignition. All three make the down (power) stroke by virtue of compression on the upstroke and ignition before starting down. Thus correctly did Morey sense the internal combustion machine." Duryea also calls attention to Morey's poppet valves, push rods and tappets with cams for operating them, all substantially as used today; but his real leader, he says, was the carburetor where fuel could be vaporized and mixed with air before passing to the engine. "No other person had so early shown the world how to do this. Even Lenoir in France, 36 years later, carried city gas to run his engine on a vehicle."
If anyone cared to experiment in making this explosive air of Morey's, he suggested "a very easy mode." Take a few feet of inch pipe; turn it at right angles every foot and fill the long part with 1/4 inch pipe. "If air is made to pass through this crooked tube, while it contains a single spoonful of high proof whiskey, and spirit of turpentine, with a proper temperature, it comes out highly explosive, if the current is forced through by a hand bellows, with ever so much velocity." Or, "A few drops of these liquors, on a board in the sun, with a tumbler inverted over them, will explode in a short time, if a flame is applied." Morey adds the comforting information: "As we now construct the engine and preparing vessel, it is impossible that an explosion can take place, that will injure anyone."
After securing a patent on April 1st, 1826, Morey took his explosive engine to New York. An article in Hydraulics and Mechanics by Ewbanks states that Mr. Morey of New Hampshire exhibited a large working model of his patented explosive engine in New York which "we took several opportunities to examine. -Mr. Morey employed the vapour of spirits of turpentine and common air. A small tin dish contained the spirits and the only heat he used was from a common table lamp. By means of a crank and flywheel a rotary movement was obtained, as in the steam engine." More recently New Yorkers and visitors to New York have been able to see another working model of the gas engine which, while not operated by the inventor himself, can be put into motion by pressing a button. The New York Museum of Science and Industry, under the instigation of Charles E. Duryea, ordered a replica made from Morey's patent specifications. The model is displayed among the exhibits of the museum.
Morey's efforts to perfect his engine did not cease with the acquisition of a patent. He experimented with electric ignition to do away with his open flame and found it would work when the temperature of the weather was eighty or ninety degrees. He performed many experiments to prove the force of his machine and introduced the improvements which affirm Duryea's claim that we are indebted to Samuel Morey for the internal combustion machine. "No one," said Duryea, "can tell the far-reaching influence of this wonderful man.... Others reaped where Samuel Morey of New Hampshire sowed."
As for Morey himself, he must have felt he sowed on barren ground. He knew the value of his discovery but despaired of convincing the public of its worth. He says In his unpublished papers, "I see no reason why it [the gas engine] may not, in addition to the uses to which steam is applied, be applied with the greatest advantage in drawing carriages on good roads and railways and particularly for giving what seems to be much wanted direction and velocity to Balloons."
He goes on with unbelievable foresight to predict: "The discovery will in good measure change greatly the commercial intercourse of the Country. There is good reason I trust to conclude that transportation on good roads or rail road may be done much cheaper as well as quicker than by locks and canals, besides having the great advantage of being done, much of it, in Winter, a time much the most convenient to the farmer. In their personal intercourse, if it should be generally thought most prudent to continue their intercourse on the earth's surface, yet I think there will be little use of horses for that purpose."
Morey's vision of the future was prophetic indeed. The gas engine finally put the horse to pasture. Today there are gasoline stations on property Morey owned, supplying fuel to the modern versions of his gas engine. Trains powered by Diesel motors zoom along a railroad through land that was once his. Airplanes drone overhead or streak their jet-propelled way across the sky. Seeing it all now, Morey might be mildly astonished at the speed with which automobiles flash through town, at the transformation of the old rutted, dirt road into a "good" road, wider and smoother than even he had visualized, but he knew the day would come when all this would happen.
He tried his best to open the eyes of his fellow men to the possibilities of his new power. If he failed to convince the average public of its worth, men of science accorded him a hearing. Professor Silliman thought well enough of the letter Morey wrote him in 1826 to publish it in his American Journal of Science and Arts, deleting only a small part of it, the part where Morey said his new power might be used for a "loco-motive engine." Silliman may have thought the inventor was giving way to a flight of fancy, though Morey supported his idea logically. He pointed out that it dispensed with the cumbersome boiler and substituted a light, small evaporator. It would be considerably lighter than a twenty-one horse power steam engine weighing eight tons with fifty pounds in the boiler and thirty in the cylinders. Equal power could be obtained from a gas engine whose machinery weighed not over one ton.
For a time Morey had great hopes for his invention. He shelved his plans to propel a wagon with his machine, after the near destruction of his workshop, and concentrated on applying the power to a boat. By September of 1829 he had succeeded in building a boat nineteen feet long by five and a half feet wide with a gas engine occupying only eighteen inches of the stern which propelled the boat at a speed of seven or eight miles an hour. He had managed to interest three men in his venture, Messrs. Rush, Muhlenberg and Garrett. The first two are well known Philadelphia names. Messrs. Rush and Muhlenberg have been identified as James Rush and David Muhlenberg, sons-in-law of Oliver Evans and proprietors of the Bush Hill Works (iron foundry) at Philadelphia. Mr. Garrett was either a clock and watchmaker or the owner of a brass foundry. All records of their association with Morey have vanished. There remains only the text of a letter, with no explanatory address, written to Messrs. Rush and Muhlenberg by Morey telling them the boat ran "as regular as any driven by steam, and with very little expense." He added modestly that the same engine in better hands would unquestionably drive a boat of twice the capacity at least ten miles an hour. He speaks of having perfected the engine's application to stationary purposes during the past winter and mentions his hope of collecting money for the three gentlemen as well as some for himself "which I could do were there any in the country, as I have more than $3,000 of salable personal property and good debts." Merit alone would not promote his gas engine. The want of financial support was constantly a problem to Morey. However, his engine was already packed up to be put with the malls on board a packet as soon as he could get ready to start from home. He was inclined to think he should send it to Baltimore in the first instance, but would postpone entirely anything further. "When I have the pleasure to see you I hope to learn what will be the best course to be taken." Whether he was able to raise some money or not, they could expect to see him next month "if I am alive and well as usual."
His letter concludes: "It remains for me to have the engine applied to a carriage on a rail road, and when that is done, I should think I had done my part...."
Thus ends the story of Samuel Morey's new power. So far as is known nothing came of his association with Rush, Muhlenberg and Garrett. Whether money or faith was lacking remains a secret. A personal tragedy may have contributed to Morey's failure to carry on with his project. Within a year an infant grandson died, to be followed in November by the death of his only living child, a daughter, Almira. His wife also had died, and though there were other grandchildren and a stepdaughter who kept house for him, the loss of his beloved daughter grieved him deeply.
A legend persisting through the years tells of a boat sunk in the waters of Lake Morey in Fairlee, Vermont, about the year 1825, purporting to be Morey's steamboat. The passage of time and colorful variations of the story obscure the facts. Some say the boat was sunk by enemies of Morey to destroy all evidence pointing to a successful steamboat prior to Fulton's. Others claim Morey himself sank the boat in despair over his treatment by Fulton and Livingston. Both contentions are improbable at so late a date. That, so to speak, was water over the paddle wheels. In 1874 the New Hampshire Antiquarian Society conducted an unsuccessful search with grappling hooks to recover the boat. Her supposed location was pointed out by one Hezekiah Williams of Orford, who claimed to have seen the hulk beneath the water. As a boy he had also seen the boat before the sinking. He described her as "a large boat, full twenty feet In length, painted white, with a red streak and black gunwale, called the Aunt Sally." Hezekiah Williams told an altogether different version of the boat's disappearance, although only one small boy was privileged to hear it. On a winter day Williams was fishing through the ice of Lake Morey when the boy, skating near by, stopped to talk about the recent search for the Aunt Sally. Old Williams said he knew for certain where she was because he himself had helped to sink her. He told how, as a boy, he and three friends piled stones into the Aunt Sally, and pushed her out into the lake, thinking she would sink before getting ten rods from shore. Instead she floated all the way up to the head of the lake and they watched her until she sank. Why did they do "Because we were little devils and full of hell." The tale may have been true, or merely calculated to entertain a bugeyed small boy. On his death bed Williams denied the story and said he saw enemies of Morey sink the boat.
Morey's personal physician and friend, Dr. Willard Hosford, took no stock in any of these stories. He felt sure that Morey, in the course of their many talks, would have spoken of the sinking if any unusual circumstances had surrounded it. On the contrary, no mention of it was made. When boats had outlived their usefulness, they were often disposed of by loading them with rocks to sink them; and that, if anything, Dr. Hosford believed to be the source of the Aunt Sally legend. With any certainty he could only say that a boat built by Morey was sunk in Lake Morey about fifty years previous to the search made by the Vermont Historical Society.
Finally, one more theory must be advanced. Granting a slight inaccuracy of date, and considering the description of the Aunt Sally, which approximately corresponds to Morey's nineteen foot gas powered boat, could the sunken vessel have been that motor boat, disposed of shortly after Morey's letter to Rush and Muhlenberg in 1829? Discouraged by a failure to promote it, by the continual defeat of his many inventions, grieved by the loss of his daughter, thinking his life wasted, did Morey abandon all hope of success, all desire to continue his inventive efforts, and sink the Aunt Sally, himself, giving, after all, credence to the belief that he committed the act in a gesture of despair?
Discouraged or not, Morey never entirely discontinued his inventive experiments. After abandoning the motor boat project, he occupied himself with the task of perfecting a lamp based on the same principle as his water burner. In 1833 he wrote Professor Silliman that he had spent more than twenty years experimenting almost daily on variations of his gas engine and water burner. He was certain he had tested lamps, stoves and machines in more than four thousand different forms. The reason for his perseverance was a belief that they could be of immense benefit to the community, a motivation showing the dedicated mind of a man intent on serving humanity by the invention of practical devices, building a better mouse trap, as it were, though no one beat a path to his door. He told Silliman he intended to get his most recent lamp into use as soon as he could conveniently. He would endeavor to furnish Silliman with a lamp and drawing. To the very end he remained undefeated, trying always to present his work to the public, failing again and again, giving up sometimes, only to return once more to the work he loved and believed in. His constant aim was to apply his experimental discoveries to useful and economical purposes, a sentiment in keeping with the acknowledged trend of the day, but none the less typical of his desire to benefit mankind. In writing to Silliman he speaks of a source of heat and light costing nothing, "for if we can disengage the hydrogen of water from the oxygen it will as surely burn when it comes in contact with the oxygen of the air, in combustion, as that disengaged from the carbon of wood." On November 19th, 1833, at the age of seventy-one, Morey received his last patent. He lived on for nearly ten more years, retiring to a home in Fairlee, Vermont, where, long after his death, the body of water known to him as Great Pond was named Lake Morey in his honor. And so, unrecognized though his work may be, the name of Samuel Morey is not entirely forgotten. One day this self-taught inventor may emerge from his obscurity to be given the credit he deserves for the products of his gifted mind. He was a man born ahead of his time in a world not yet ready for the benefits of his genius.