Everybody knows the tale. An obscure scientist develops a method to provide cheap, unlimited fuel–but greedy Big Business buys him off, to preserve their evil profits. Part of that story was resolved today in a Chicago courtroom.
Guido Franch was born in 1910 in Livingston, Illinois. He went to school through 7th grade, then quit to become a coal miner. Sometime during the 1950s, he made his astounding discovery. He learned how to turn water into gasoline.
He called his method MOTA, “atom” spelled backwards. The secret was his special powder. Franch was happy to demonstrate how it worked.
First he dumped the powder into water. The water turned green. Next he poured the mixture into the fuel tank of a power lawn mower. Then he started the lawn mower. The water had become high-octane gasoline!
Franch was the subject of numerous breathless stories in supermarket tabloids. He attracted a number of investors. In 1954 he was brought to trial for fraud, but acquitted. Then he laid low for twenty years.
By 1974 Franch was back. Again he demonstrated MOTA, and this time he raised over $50,000 from investors. Late in 1979 he was brought to trial in the U.S. District Court at Chicago.
At the trial, Franch revealed that the secret formula had actually been developed by a scientist in Livingston. Franch had worked as the man’s lab assistant, and that’s how he had obtained it. He also said that the Ford Motor Company had tried to buy the formula for $32 million.
“It’s so big it interferes with the billions of dollars invested by the oil companies,” Franch declared. “It’s either worth $50 billion or 50 cents.”
The prosecution charged that Franch had used food coloring to make the water turn green. They produced a witness who testified that Franch had admitted the formula was a hoax. Franch had used aviation fuel to run the lawn mower.
The jury deliberated for six hours. Today they convicted Franch on four counts of mail fraud, and one count of interstate transportation of a fraud victim. He was sentenced to five years probation.
Guido Franch died in 1983. His secret MOTA formula has never been found.