The discussion of the ideal conversion of enclosed thermal radiation revolves around three different theories, whose earliest proponents were Petela, Spanner, and Jeter, respectively. Each of these theories has been accused to be incorrect. The objective of this paper is to provide a bird’s-eye-view of the relationship between these three theories. It is shown that the theories are individually correct, and that they complement (rather than contradict) one another. The present “unification” consists of answering two important questions: i) What is the origin of the assumed blackbody radiation system? ii) What is the ultimate fate of the blackbody radiation system? It is shown that the supply of high-temperature isotropic radiation postulated by all three theories is the result of a heat input from a high-temperature heat reservoir. When referenced to the same high-temperature heat input, Spanner’s ideal work output must always be smaller than Petela’s, and, in turn, Petela’s work output must be smaller than Jeter’s.

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