(Died: December 20, 1947)
Interests: New Energy
Until recently all of the known information on the Coler inventions stemmed from the British Intelligence report that was declassified in 1980. The technical team that interrogated Coler consisted of Mr. R. Hurst from the Ministry of Supply and Captain R. Sandberg from the Norwegian Army. Why the Norwegian Army should be involved has until now seemed a mystery. Thanks to Professor Gwyn Hocking a file has recently been discovered at the UK National Archives covering the period 1946 to 1949. The file is entitled Coler Invention, Captain Sandberg Claim. The file came from the top level of the Ministry of Supply, and deals exclusively with claims to the rights of Coler's inventions. Initially the claims were made by Sandberg, but later, after hearing of Coler's death, Dr. Modersohn also lodged a claim. There is very little technical detail, but there is a written description of the apparatus.
The UK Ministry of Supply would today be called the Ministry of Defence. Its headquarters was in London, but it was responsible for many factories and research establishments of which two relate to Coler. The Royal Aircraft Establishment (RAE) is located at Farnborough (known today for the bi-annual air show held there). The Signals Research and Development Establishment (SRDE) on the south coast was responsible for Army communications equipment. After World War 2 German nationals were employed in the UK under two different schemes. Those employed in industry were there under the “Darwin Panel” so named because its chairman was Sir Charles Darwin (descendent of the famous Charles Darwin). Those employed in military activities were there under a scheme controlled by the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS). Coler was employed in the UK under the latter scheme in 1947.
Coler was given a six month contract to build his Stromerzeuger, starting on 4th July 1947. He was given a room and facilities, including a Polish assistant, at SRDE but he was supervised from RAE. He claimed partial success which was later disputed by the men at the top who thought the whole exercise was a waste of time and money. However those closer to him thought it worth continuing and in December 1947 permission was given for a six month extension.
However before that could take place Coler died of a heart attack in late December 1947. Coler's death certificate reveals his full name as Hermann Carl Gustav Hans Coler. He died on 20th December 1947 aged 61. Coler's dependents were named as his Sister Eva Coler with correspondence to be sent via another relative, Paulus Asta Coler, at a different address.
The newly discovered archive folder has widened the search for Coler related material. Archives from RAE are stored at the UK National Archives and these might reveal more. Archive from SRDE is deposited at the UK Royal Signals Museum. Information is also being sought from Norwegian and German Archives.
In 1920 Norrby filed his patent application. At the same time Willy von Unruh filed a patent application for a method of making steel wire more conductive by heating, quenching and polishing. From German archives we know that Coler and Unruh were in collaboration by 1925. One year later Coler demonstrated a working overunity Stromerzeuger to several Professors who can find no explanation for its remarkable property. In 1933 Coler and Unruh created a more powerful Stromerzeuger and also developed their Magnetstromapparat. Four years later Coler produced a 6KW version of the Stromerzeuger. This machine is destroyed by bombs during WW2. It is believed that Unruh died between 1933 and 1937. In 1946 Coler constructed a Magnetstromapparat for British intelligence and achieved partial working of the device. In 1947 Coler moved to the UK to build a Stromerzeuger. Coler died that year and Sandberg laid claim to the Stromerzeuger parts.
The only technical details to come to light are provided in a letter written by C. S. Hudson who was the person at RAE supervising Coler. As you can see this has been badly damaged by much handling over the years. By creating text spacing to match the original typewriter it has been possible to add missing text that makes reading sense. This has given us a new insight into the Stromerzeuger.
The Stromerzeuger consisted of flat copper plates arranged in pairs. Above each pair of plates was wound a flat coil. The plates and coils were stacked 14 high, only 10 being shown in this sketch. Only one stack is shown and some of the wire has been removed for clarity. Between the plates was a vertical board carrying iron cored electromagnets on each side. Adding the other stack of plates gives some indication of the overall assembly. For clarity only the bottom coil is shown in full.
This invention by Robert Norrby, a Swedish national, was put to the UK Patent Office in 1920. It was not granted, so the specification came into the public domain and could be purchased for the sum of one shilling. The similarities to the Coler Stromerzeuger are so striking, even down to the number of plates, that this goes beyond coincidence. We therefore believe that Unruh and Coler copied the Norrby device and perhaps improved on it.