Thursday 23 September 2010

Wheel update and an awsome trebuchet.

Well I'm still moving stuff out and getting rid of accumulated trash from thirty years! Still unable to work on my new wheel, but as soon as I can I'll be back!  Since I have little to report about my wheel work, I thought I'd go off at a bit of a tangent here.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I've lived here, near Warwick, for over 30 years and yet until this week I had never visited one of the finest castles in England - Warwick castle - and it's just two and half miles from my house. Begun almost a thousand years ago, it's an amazing place and well worth the visit. But for me the best thing is, they have this huge medieval trebuchet that has to be seen to be believed.

It's not the biggest one around, but its still impressive.  It weighs in at 22 tons, measures 20 feet in height if you include the throwing arm and can hurl a missile 75 feet high and a thousand feet distant. It takes a small team of 4 or 5 guys walking in a giant hamster wheel at least 15 minutes just to wind up the massive block of sandstone which supplies the power. To be close by when it fires is awsome! This particular one - and they have others - was designed and built by Dr Peter Vemming from The Mediaeval Centre in Nykobing, Denmark, using notes and drawings from the 13th century, so it seems to be pretty authentic. I think that if they could design and build such a truly inspiring machine more than seven hundred years ago, they certainly had the know-how and the ability to built a puny gravitywheel without any problem. But of course they didn't know how! And neither do we ....yet!

There are other equally robust machines at the castle, and you can tell just by looking at them that they can unleash some fearsome energy and are just waiting for the chance!  This one I haven't seen fired yet but it just looks cool.  I'm sure that the builders of these amazing machines would have been able to build a giant gravitywheel had they known how and I can imagine something with say a twenty foot diameter being turned by heavy stone balls, able to pump thousands of gallons of water, or even raise the twenty ton rock in the trebuchet.

Anyway I shall give some updates here as soon as I have begun work on my wheel - and as always, confidence remains high.  I am still utterly convinced that 'kiiking' holds the solution, although I'm aware that most people think I'm way off target.  In the end only the proof of principle demonstrated in a working model will convince the world.

Mean while I shall keep the image of the trebuchet in mind to both inspire me and remind me what people could accomplish seven hundred years ago, here on this tired old island.


Monday 13 September 2010

Update on the wheel and some corrections to the translations.

I have had to stop working on my Bessler wheel for the last couple of weeks because my workshop has become so cluttered with old wheels and used parts, and pieces of wood and metal and nuts and bolts and washers......etc. I decided to have a clear out of all the bits and pieces I didn't want to keep - other than for nostalgic reasons - because we are having to move some items out of their usual place to leave room for some repairs to other parts of the house. So I had to make room, for a fridge/freezer, tumbledrier and a range of cupboards. This meant taking out one of my two work benches and some serious rearranging of the place. It's almost done and then I can get back to work on the wheel.

The nostalgic items include some apparatus made to demonstrate my ideas in a lecture I gave a few years ago. They included a twelve foot wheel which I had designed to be easily disassembled but with which I hoped to demonstrate just how big Bessler's twelve foot wheel was when you stood next to it. It was just a skeletal assembly which you could rotate with a simple push but it was never intended to be a self-moving one. Another item was a simple vertical windmill shaft on which I had placed two Savonius windmills. A strong fan was placed so that the wind would turn the Savonius windmills. This was to demonstrate the idea that when disconneced from each other they rotated in opposite directions but when linked they did not move unless given a small push. This push allowed them to turn together in the same direction at half the disconnected speed in either direction as required by the pusher. There were also a number of old wheel backs that were so full of holes that they were of no use to me any more.  I held on to these items for too long but anyway they've have gone now so I have plenty of room!

I had decided to begin correcting some of the translation errors in my publications, which had been identified by Stewart on the besslerwheel forum over the last few years. It was suggested that because I had not kept the books updated by correcting the text whenever an improvement in the translation was published on the forum that I was causing a certain amount of confusion, and I have received some criticism for my lack of interest in updating the books. I finally agreed that perhaps I should begin the task of making these corrections. However I realised very quickly that it was not as simple as it sounded and when I learned that Stewart planned to publish his own translations in the future there seemed little point in making alterations that would be superceded later by improved translations and I could see that I might be infringing his own copyright by using his words. I was unsure how much of his corrections I could use - did I use only short one or two word corrections for instance and ignore longer passages? Anyway I have decided not to issue revised books but may include an errata sheet. I published the books as translated by my own translater who I commissioned to do the job and I was more than satisfied with his work at the time.  And how would he feel on seeing my 'corrections' to his work?  In my opinion the differences in translation are minimal to understanding Bessler.

In addition to this I am busy with my revised biography of Bessler. Acknowledging the various works quoted is a time consuming task on its own and I am still awaiting information on some original documents which have been undergoing treatment for mould. It has been a long time in the writing but it is nearing completion and might even be available for the 300th anniversary if I don't get distracted from it too often.


Saturday 4 September 2010

Bessler's Windmill for sale - One Euro!

A correspondent has kindly pointed out that the famous windmill that Bessler was building when he fell to his death is up for sale, for the princely sum of .... one euro!  That's about $1.28!

Of course when you look more closely there are conditions attached to the sale which could cost the buyer hundreds of thousands of pounds.  There's a brokerage fee of 950 euros for start (correction that should read 5,950 Euros!) - not too much considering the investment opportunity, but the building is 'listed' and in England that is like buying a large hole and throwing your money in!  Nevertheless if I had the money I'd buy it just for me! 

Imagine walking around it and seeing Bessler's own work and looking to see if he had scribbled any messages or left documents mouldering away in some hidden cavity .. sorry I'm letting my imagination run away with me again!

Here's a couple of photos from the 'for sale' site.  I visited the windmill myself a few years ago but never went inside to see what it was like, but I hope to do so one day.

Sadly, in my opinion, they fail to mention the guy who built it!  After Bessler's death the building provided somewhere for the start of the porcelaine industry in that part of German, and that is all they say.


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