The secret backstory of
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 produced
the "Nancy Drew" and "Hardy Boys" series. There were about 30 Tom
Swift books, 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, 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
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 knew then but 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
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 Tom's best friend 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
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
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
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
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.
CEO, Swift Enterprises
April 01, 2011
2011 Swift Communications