The secret backstory of Swift Enterprises

Tom Swift in his "Flying Lab"

When I was 8 years old my mom started me reading the "Tom Swift" book series. These were created by the same company that, at the same time, produced the "Nancy Drew" and "Hardy Boys" series. There were about 30 Tom Swift books, created in the 1950's, with names like: "Tom Swift and his Flying Lab" and "Tom Swift and his Atomic Submarine". Tom was a teenage genius and inventor. Whenever something was needed, he'd just say "I can build that!", and the next morning they would find him asleep, slumped over in his chair, having worked all night, and with a working prototype on the desk!!

I always wanted to be like Tom! Every book in the series had the same picture on its inside cover (see above), which shows Tom looking out the window of his Flying Lab. I grew up with THAT picture as my dream, to be made into my reality.


Tom Swift... is inventive and science-minded... The character was originally modeled after such figures as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss... each book focuses on Tom's latest invention... Several inventions, including the taser, have been directly inspired by the fictional inventions. In fact, "TASER" is an acronym for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle".

A number of other scientists, inventors, and science fiction writers have also credited Tom Swift with inspiring them, including Ray Kurzweil, Robert A. Heinlein, Paul Allen, Bill Gates, and Isaac Asimov. Steve Wozniak says the Tom Swift adventures were his favorite reading as a boy. According to Wozniak, reading the Tom Swift books made him feel "that engineers can save the world from all sorts of conflict and evil".

In the books, Swift Enterprises, owned and run by Tom's dad Tom Swift, Sr., was the most advanced Science and Technology company on the planet. NASA and the JPL are actually offshoots of Swift Enterprises, as well as many of the technological sections of the NSA and CIA.

What my mom did not tell me was that Tom Swift was a real person! The books were of course exaggerated to make good stories, but the basic characters were real. This is not generally known. The books covered Tom's life up to about 1970 and then stopped publication.

On my 18th birthday, mom told me the whole truth. That in 1972, Tom and his dad Tom Sr., along with Tom's best friend Bud Barclay, took a secret trip to an Ashram in the Himalayan mountains, invited by their good friend John Lennon. Their purpose was to learn more about "spiritual" energies. Although John returned, Tom Sr., Tom Jr., and Bud disappeared and have never been seen since.

From the books, I knew that Bud was dating Tom's sister Sandra. But not in the books was that Sandra and Bud had actually married, and soon after the boys left for the Himalayas, Sandra discovered that she was pregnant with Bud's son, Steven.

No wonder I felt so connected to the books! I am Steven Swift! All these years I thought it was a cool "coincidence" that my mom's name was Sandra Swift, just like Tom's sister! She never said that she was the real Sandra Swift, and that my father, who I never met, was Bud Barclay.

After they disappeared, the CIA more or less stole the company by classifying Swift Enterprises' most advanced technologies and then moving the labs and equipment out of the company's buildings and into their own secret labs. Swift's Rocketry division was directly taken over and the technology was used to create NASA and the JPL. Other divisions were likewise stolen, and most of the technology was diverted into military companies under top-secret charters.

Mom was left with very little. Targeted by Nixon's IRS and bankrupted, she fell into a deep depression. She and her mom, my grandmother Mary Nestor Swift, eventually gave up on the boys and presumed them dead. They sold off what was left of Swift Enterprises to an Eastern European business conglomerate in 1975. Neither of the girls ever re-married. They moved to an island just of the coast of southern Florida, where they ran the small resort hotel where I grew up.

After getting my PhDs at Stanford, CalTech, and MIT, I moved to San Francisco and started a number of successful tech companies. In 2010, thru FOIA requests, I got some of the CIA documents on Swift Enterprises and located the owners in Croatia. I negotiated to buy the company back, and I'm proud to say that the name, "Swift Enterprises", with all of its original trademarks and logos are now once again in Swift family hands!

I am now revitalizing the new Swift Enterprises! It shall be restored to the glory it once had when run by my grandfather Tom Swift, Sr.!!

I intend to take the company into the 21st century and make it once again THE premier source of the most advanced Science and Technology on the planet.

Steven Swift
CEO, Swift Enterprises
April 01, 2011
2011 Swift Communications