Sunday 27 February 2011

Angular Momentum to Linear Momentum - and back again?

Sometimes when looking for a solution to a mechanical problem it helps to reverse the sequence of events required - or as Professor Eric Laithwaite liked to do, consider an analogy.

What we seek is a way of converting the downward linear force of gravity into rotational motion. As a means of seeking a solution for those of us who believe Bessler's wheel operated purely by gravitational force, perhap it might help to study the work of those whose ambition is to reverse the process. They wish to generate a unidirectional or linear force from a rapidly rotating weighted lever. There are a number of sites devoted to the experiments for instance.

Now whether or not you believe it can be achieved, and I do, it is a fact is it not, that if Bessler's wheel is successfully built and is proved to be driven by gravity, and a working model demonstrated, then it follows that an engine that converts angular momentum to linear momentum can also be developed, since the action or process of one must be the reverse of the other.

Such an engine would have its own extraordinary abilities.  It could move over land and water and rise upwards against gravity.  Space drive with no emissions.


Saturday 19 February 2011

Who best to play Bessler?

It has been remarked on more than one occasion that the story of Johann Bessler's life would make an excellent movie. It has already been made into an opera although I have not seen it, and it seems to me that a movie about the inventor would have all the ingredients needed to make a worldwide box office success.

There is lust, greed, jealousy, theft, hatred, love, a hunt for treasure, black magic, murder, corruption in high places and conspiracy - all set against the background of one man's struggle for recognition and a prize worth millions of dollars in today's money - not to mention a solution to today's energy and pollution problems. Need I say more?

And who is to play this tenacious, conceited, highly ingenious, emotional and troubled man? This is something I have pondered on at length for several years. For most of that time I wanted a British actor to play him, because I think they are the best actors, generally speaking. It requires someone who can express ingenuity, determination, obsession, triumph, paranoia and suspicion and blind fury - and yet call for the tenderest outpouring of love on occasion and be motivated by an overwhelming commitment to his religious belief.

That was until the other day when I saw Robert Downey Jr. and recognised his outstanding talent. He seems to have the look of Bessler sometimes. I now have him as my favourite for the part, unless someone else betters him in that unique role. - and someone probably will.


Tuesday 15 February 2011

Flights of Fancy - Or the right interpretation?

Over the years I've had a number of thoughts about Bessler's words and what he might have meant. Some of those I have published on my web sites (listed on the lower right). Some of it is speculative but nevertheless I didn't include anything I didn't seriously consider a valid proposal.

But there are other ideas that are more subjective and I won't publish them on my websites in case someone takes them as factual, but here on my blog I see no reason not to engage in what some might call flights of fancy. Therefore I shall post some comments on Bessler's words over the next few weeks. They are still valid interpretations but not certain.

I've no idea if this will generate any comments but this blog format is not ideal for discussion so although I shall read all comments with interest, I think that it will not be possible to respond to each one,  here.  I have considered opening a forum but I do not really have the time to run  it properly so I'll leave it to those who may want more discussion to take it elsewhere.  So, for my first example consider the words by Bessler.

"A great craftsman would be that man who can 'lightly' cause a heavy weight to fly upwards! Who can make a pound-weight rise as 4 ounces fall, or 4 pounds rise as 16 ounces fall. If he can sort that out, the motion will perpetuate itself. But if he can't, then his hard work shall be all in vain." - page.295 of my book "Perpetual Motion; An Ancient Mystery Solved?"

Or as Rainer on the besslerwheel forum wrote, more succinctly, "When 1 pound drops 1/4 , it will (swing,throw?) 4 pounds upwards by 4/4"

or as Stewart, also on the forum, says more precisely,"He will be called a great craftsman, who can easily/lightly throw a heavy thing high, and if one pound falls a quarter, it shoots four pounds four quarters high".

The gist of the comment seems to be that a one pound weight can lift a second one pound weight four times higher than the distance the first weight falls and the lift or thrust upwards is accomplished easily - or even that one pound could lift four pounds four time higher! These suggestions are, on the face of it, ludicrous. Obviously, Bessler cloaked his meaning in apparently meaningless nonsense and yet there is a sense to be obtained from it if we can, so here is my view on the matter.

One pound falls and four pounds rise - four plus one makes five. As has proved the case often, Bessler has hidden more than one layer of meaning in his clue and I think one layer of the phrase was intended to point us to the five mechanisms again.

Secondly, included in the comment is the emphasis on the second weight being lifted or thrown upwards easily. To me this means that if the weight can be lifted easily, it must mean that it is not lifted very high, just a 'kick' upwards. One way to do this is with a long lever with a weight at its end, doing the lifting.. 

Implicit in the comment is a corroboration of another of his clues which suggests that his weights worked in pairs, so that when the first weight in a pair fell, it moved its paired weight into a position from which the wheel was made to rotate. The other four mechanisms then revolved with the wheel and each rose at some point, so one pound falling made each of four pounds rise four times each.

The use of the word 'quarter' confused my translater and he adapted the word to the English system of weight, when actually I think Bessler meant that each lever-and-weight unit rotated a quarter of a turn.  However there is another possibility, and that is that the 'quarter' referred to, simply meant that the falling weight fell the same distance as the rising weight.  The word 'quarter' was used to throw us off the scent.  He might have said that each pound rose half way when the other pound fell half way. - or they rose and fell 15 degrees each.  The important clue was that both weights moved through the same distance.

Well that's my take on this particular comment by Bessler.  More to follow.

Copyright © 2011 John Collins

Wednesday 9 February 2011

A gravitywheel will still obey the laws of physics

I know that it is commonly believed by some people that when Bessler's wheel is finally successfully replicated, those who inhabit the higher echlons of science will have to eat humble pie and re-evaluate the laws of physics and a few believe that the laws will actually have to be rewritten.

I have long believed that a successful version of Bessler's wheel cannot require the overturning of well-established physical principles. No matter how it might appear to conflict with the laws of physics, a gravitywheel must adhere to them. In which case when a working model is produced it will not be the laws which are wrong, but our interpretation of them.

It will be more than enough just to produce a working model and there is no need, in my opinion, to invoke some new physical law which so far has been undetected by mankind. For such a law, if it could be established and verified, would surely have been observable in some other context long, long ago. So that simplifies things because we only need to look at the laws we already accept and see how our understanding of them can be modified - without changing the them - to acommodate Bessler's gravitywheel.

I have spent a lifetime looking at these laws and I think I know how Bessler's gravitywheel was able to operate within the confines of the law of conservation of energy. I have alluded to this before, briefly, but reactions have ranged from scorn to apathy. So, as I said recently, I am currently building a model with an accompanying video, with which I intend to demonstrate that, despite the fact that gravity is a conservative force, it does not preclude the possibility of a gravity-driven wheel.


Saturday 5 February 2011

66 and still trying to invent the wheel!

I'm 66 today! They say time travels faster as you age, and my goodness, is it speeding past now! It's been fifty years since I first read about Johann Bessler and even longer since I began designing perpetual motion machines, and I thought I might have solved the problem long before now.

There is a nice succession of links in this story. I first read about Bessler in a book called "Oddities: A Book of Unexplained Facts", by Rupert T. Gould. He was a Lieutenant Commander in the British Royal Navy noted for his contributions to horology and a host of other things and was described as a polymath. He gained permission in 1920 to restore the marine chronometers of John Harrison, and this work was completed in 1933, aided no doubt by his photographic memory. Harrison was the guy who won (eventually) the British Board of Longitude's prize for establishing the longitude of a ship at sea. The prize was £20,000, a fortune in those days, and it was the publication of this prize in 1714, which it is believed was the inspiration for Johann Bessler's decision to ask the same sum for the secret of his own invention, the gravitywheel. (For more on Harrison and to see an animation of the grasshopper escapement see

John Rowley, the finest instrument-maker in England at the time, was highly praised by Harrison in each of two volumes he published. The King of England, George l, who had already recognised Rowley's expertise in mechanics, and made him "Master of Mechanics to the King", requested a special sun dial from Rowley as a gift to Karl, the Landgrave of Hesse and Bessler's patron. Rowley took it to Kassel and installed at Karl's castle and during his visit was able to meet Bessler and see a demonstration of his wheel. He came away convinced of Bessler's claims and devoted the remaining years of his life to trying to replicate what Bessler had done.

Briefly, Rowley actually witnessed the wheel, he was a friend and colleague of John Harrison whose clocks were restored by Rupert Gould who also researched and published an account of Bessler, which I subsequently read. One cannot help but speculate that Gould must have had an interest in Bessler's machine and been aware of the connections between those involved.

As someone pointed out recently, mine and Bessler's obsession with the number 55 even includes my birthdate. 5th Feb 1945. There is a five and a two, so writing two fives makes 55 and then 1 and 9 is 10 plus 45 is 55 again! Amazing (not)!

Being the optimist that I am I am still convinced that Bessler's gravitywheel will be replicated and it can't happen a moment too soon. Time is, as I said, whizzing past at great speed and the need for this machine is growing at an alarming rate. Sticking to the 55 theme, I think I should have discovered the secret when I was fifty-five however I didn't and neither did anyone else. Maybe this year as I'm sixty-six and Bessler first exhibited his machine on the 6th June 1712, (six and six) someone will do it then, but of course next year, being the 300th anniversary since then, it would be even better.

No 'wheeling' for me today - just relaxing, being waited on - and the company of my very patient family. (patiently awaiting a working wheel!) But tomorrow I return to the task.


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