Wednesday, 9 March 2011

More Bessler findings at

I used to be in a small research group called called BORG, which stood Bessler Orffyreus Research Group. We thought we might succeed where others had failed in finding the solution to Bessler's wheel by trying to brain-storm a solution. For a while it was stimulating and exhilarating and we thought we might succeed, but as time went by, one by one, we began to drop out. The enterprise eventually ran out of steam and we went our separate ways. Unfortunately I lost everything to do with that episode due to a computer malfunction

One member of that group was a guy called Mikey Ned who has been a long time researcher into this subject. He has recently updated it at and it has some interesting things to say about the measurement scales used in Bessler's drawings.
I have always been puzzled that no one appears to take any notice of Bessler's most widely known drawings. I refer to those which appear in Das Triumphirende. Each drawing has a purpose and they are stuffed so full of clues of an obvious kind, that it seems, to me at least, equally obvious that there are other clues of a more subtle kind.

I could mention for instance the presence of the pendulums (or pendula if you want the correct term). No witness ever recorded seeing them although they were mentioned by Bessler. Their presence was explained by a rather weak rationalsation which was really unnecessary. The reason for their presence is obvious to me even if it isn't to others. If you zoom in on a good scan of the drawings it is possible to see the great care taken with every line in each drawing.

It's interesting for me to see what someone else has posted about their own studies into this area of research because I sometimes think I'm the only one who has tried to make sense of the drawings which Bessler clearly laboured over. Those drawing are not just decorative they hold a wealth of clues and if we can only extend our knowledge of what is in them there is just a chance we can solve this puzzle that way instead of trying to do the way Bessler did, through a mixture of intuition and trial and error.
Good job, Mikey!


  1. Another useful source is some of the original well-informed correspondence of the time. For example as far as I know there is no complete English translation of 'sGravesande's letter to Newton, see e.g. Dircks "Perpetuum Mobile" 1861, pp518-520 for the original in French. Here's a full translation of what I think is the most interesting part:

    "I turned the drum [the wheel] very slowly, and it stood still as soon as I took my hand away; I made it make a turn or two in that way; then I made it move slightly more quickly; I made it make a turn or two; but then I was obliged to keep holding it back; for having let it go, it reached in less than two turns its maximum velocity..."

    In other words this (Kassel) wheel needed some definite minimum angular velocity before it would start up, and below that it could not start up at all, e.g. at some point within a revolution. Just possibly dynamic friction could explain this, but to me it suggests something dynamic in the wheel, i.e. not just overbalancing weights.

  2. I have a complete translation of 'sGravesande's letter to Newton, in fact I included it in my book, |"Perpetual Motion; An Ancient Mystery Solved?"

    But yes you are right, there is much to be learned by studying the words of witnesses of the wheel.


  3. With due respect, John, the point I was trying to make is that the translation you give in your book, (pp110-111) is not complete. Yours is the same as that in the "Annual Register" for 1763, reprinted in Dircks p39-42. That English translation leaves out (twice) the important words "I made it make a turn or two..." So 'sGravesande has at least discovered for us that the Kassel wheel would not just start up once it had been turned through some angle.

    I don't want to sound critical: we're obviously on the same page here.

    Perhaps some accessible collection of witness accounts would be useful?

  4. Not to worry John,..I am convinced I have the total solution to the wheel.It has all the ingredients of the poem,even down to the reason for the knocking sound.It also has bi-directionality.
    I think you are right advising me not to speak about the configuration until it's built and proven.
    I am hoping to have proof of prototype by next week.

  5. I would be happy with unidirectional wheel.

  6. Yes I would too Vincent.I don't see the point of a bi-directional wheel, because if you want reverse you can take the drive off the rear of the shaft.
    It's a symetrical design so it just worked out like that.

  7. I wish you god luck Trevor.

  8. After I looked at the mikeyned page I wondered does anyone know if there has ever been a full scale attempt at any of the three sizes of the wheels? Using all the known measurements, known weights, etc? Has anyone ever tried a 12 foot wheel with about 4 pound weights and a 6 ft by 6 or 8 inch axle? Did it make a difference in the success of the motion? I suppose the scale wouldn't matter. I wonder why he settled on those sizes if the scale made no difference. The second wheel was 5 ells in diameter; that makes sense since that was his favorite number. I imagine the 6 foot wheel was easier to transport for display. But if he didn't have to transport the 12 foot wheel from the castle, why stop at 12 feet? Castles had 20 or 30 foot ceilings so that wasn't the reason. Why not 18 feet? Were boards perhaps only milled to 12 feet long back then?
    Why stop at 4 pound weights? If it was a gravity-only driven device, wouldn't heavier weights make it turn faster or more powerfully, enabling it to do even more work? That was the reason he made bigger and bigger wheels wasn't it, to prove that it could be a practical machine for work? Why not 8 or even 16 pound weights?
    I suspect the answer might be - if we believe he used them in the wheel - he was limited by the size and strength of the springs available to him at that time, maybe? If that was the case, and had he been able to obtain stronger ones he could have scaled the wheel up even more. This might suggest there would be a definite relationship between the internal parts.
    The weights, the length of the levers and the size and strength of the springs only worked to keep the wheel turning if the relationship between them was constant. If the weights were too heavy, or the levers the wrong length, the springs couldn't maintain their function in the wheel, whatever that function was.


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