Tom Swift

Real Name

Tom Swift

First Appearance

Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle; or, Fun and Adventure on the Road (Novel, 1910)

Original Publisher

Created by

Edward Stratemeyer and Howard Garis


Tom was a brilliant inventor who lived in Shopton, New York, with his father, Barton Swift. Like his father, Tom had a genius for mechanical engineering, and from an early age, he began building things like boats and motorcycles. Soon, he graduated to building more advanced technology, such as his air ship, The Red Cloud. Eventually, he began building vehicles and devices of his own design, far more advanced than anything existing at the time. Tom held numerous patents, and he was constantly forced to protect his newest inventions from unscrupulous souls who wished to steal them. Tom's primary nemesis was Andy Foger.

Tom travelled the world (and under it), often looking for treasures, and experienced many fantastic adventures along the way. His airship, the Red Cloud crashed in the Arctic and was later replaced by the smaller dirigible called "The Black Hawk," a larger one called "The Falcon," and a long range one called "The Flyer." He also built the fast monoplanes, "The Butterfly," "The Humming-Bird," and "The Lark" (in that order), as well as a glider called "The Vulture." During World War I, he supplied the United States government and its allies with a variety of weapons, including a giant cannon, an aerial warship and a powerful tank. Perhaps his most famous invention was the electric rifle which was a weapon that projected a powerful electrical charge, capable of destroying a small hut.


Tom had been home schooled by his father. He was a good athlete, a hunter, proficient with firearms and a decent cook as well. Tom was a brilliant inventor and a genius at mechanical engineering and aeronautics.

Supporting Cast

Barton Swift: Tom's father and a brilliant inventor in his own right. He is the founder of the Swift Construction Company. He is wealthy from the patents he owns, but maintains a conservative and unpretentious lifestyle. He is also described as "aged", "nervous", "distracted" and "feeble." As his health failed, he was no longer able to accompany Tom on his adventures.

Mrs. Baggert: Hired as the Swift family housekeeper, shortly after the death of Tom's mother. She has become a surrogate mother to Tom. She is so short, she has to stand on a soapbox to kiss Tom goodbye.

Ned Newton: Tom's best friend. Originally employed with Shopton National Bank, he later became the financial manager for the Swift Construction Company.

Mary Nestor: Tom's sweetheart from Mansburg. She is attractive and has brown eyes. Her father's name is Amos and they have a horse named Dobbin, which pulls their cart. Her second cousin is Dick Blythe.

Wakefield Damon: An old adventurer who accompanied Tom on his voyages. He was fluent in several languages. He was also a bit of an eccentric and liked to bless everyone and everything in his vicinity!

Koku: A giant from South America who returns to the United States with Tom and accompanies him on adventures. He is very big (about 10 feet tall) and very strong, with large hoop earrings. He has a twin brother named Tola, and was a brother of King Kosk.


Andy Foger: A "poor little rich kid" with a chip on his shoulder. His father is on the Board of Directors of B&E. He is squinty eyed and has red hair. He is a loud mouthed bully, who is willing to kill Tom in order to win.

Public Domain Literary Appearances

  • Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle; or, Fun and Adventure on the Road, 1910
  • Tom Swift and His Motor Boat; or, The Rivals of Lake Carlopa, 1910
  • Tom Swift and His Airship; or, The Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud, 1910
  • Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat; or, Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure, 1910
  • Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout; or, The Speediest Car on the Road, 1910
  • Tom Swift and His Wireless Message; or, The Castaways of Earthquake Island, 1911
  • Tom Swift Among the Diamond Makers; or, The Secret of Phantom Mountain, 1911
  • Tom Swift in the Caves of Ice; or, The Wreck of the Airship, 1911
  • Tom Swift and His Sky Racer; or, The Quickest Flight on Record, 1911
  • Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle; or, Daring Adventures on Elephant Island, 1911
  • Tom Swift in the City of Gold; or, Marvelous Adventures Underground, 1912
  • Tom Swift and His Air Glider; or, Seeking the Platinum Treasure, 1912
  • Tom Swift in Captivity; or, A Daring Escape by Airship, 1912
  • Tom Swift and His Wizard Camera; or, Thrilling Adventures While Taking Moving Pictures, 1912
  • Tom Swift and His Great Searchlight; or, On the Border for Uncle Sam, 1912
  • Tom Swift and His Giant Cannon; or, The Longest Shots on Record, 1913
  • Tom Swift and His Photo Telephone; or, The Picture That Saved a Fortune, 1914
  • Tom Swift and His Aerial Warship; or, The Naval Terror of the Seas, 1915
  • Tom Swift and His Big Tunnel; or, The Hidden City of the Andes, 1916
  • Tom Swift In the Land of Wonders; or, The Underground Search for the Idol of Gold, 1917
  • Tom Swift and His War Tank; or, Doing His Bit for Uncle Sam, 1918
  • Tom Swift and His Air Scout; or, Uncle Sam's Mastery of the Sky, 1919
  • Tom Swift and His Undersea Search; or, The Treasure on the Floor of the Atlantic, 1920
  • Tom Swift Among the Fire Fighters; or, Battling with Flames in the Air, 1921
  • Tom Swift and His Electric Locomotive; or, Two Miles a Minute on the Rails, 1922
  • Tom Swift and His Giant Telescope, 1939 (Better Little Book)

Tom Swift Jr. Series

  • Tom Swift and the Visitor from Planet X 1961 (by James Duncan Lawrence)
  • Tom Swift and the Electronic Hydrolung 1961 (by James Duncan Lawrence)


  • In copyrighted appearances, Tom goes on to marry Mary Nestor, and have a son named Tom Swift Jr. who becomes friends with Uncle Ned's daughter, Phyllis Newton. While Phyllis's first appearance is public domain, the other characters and events would not be.
  • The acronym "TASER" stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle."

See Also

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