Monday, 26 September 2011
Many among we 'Bessler's wheel' researchers have our own pet theories about different aspects of our self-appointed task, and they can be as diverse as the numbers of people involved. So it comes as no surprise to find my own theories treated with as much indifference as I treat many other people's - no offence intended and none taken. But one theory I have subscribed to, among a couple of others, for most of my life is the one about the pendulums indicated in two of Bessler's drawings; I refer to the drawing in Grundlicher Bericht published December 1715 and the one in Das Triumphirende published in October 1719. Both depict Bessler's Merseberg wheel and include a complex pendulum and according to Bessler they could be used to regulate the speed but, if not required, could be dispensed with. However as at least two reports comment on the extreme eveness and regularity of rotation of the wheels, there seems little or no requirement for their use.
My very first thought was that they were included to add interest to what was after all, pictorially a pretty dull subject matter without them. This thought was supported by the later drawings in Das Triumphirende which show an archimedes screw being turned. However not content with that drawing, Bessler also added another one which shows a large triangular pendulum with three bobs. As we have already dismissed the need for pendulums to regulate the wheel's speed why would he include yet another one, four years after the first?
I therefore dismissed the idea that they were there as mere decoration. I took the view that they were intended to convey information about the inner structure of the wheel; the mechanism in fact. I have expressed this thought elsewhere but my opinion has been largely ignored and it seems that most people attempt to make the case for their use as governors, something I would argue against.
Following my belief in the true purpose of the pendulums, I have over the years, played with a number of mechanisms designs loosely based on the pendulms, several with interesting properties, but nothing that subscribed to the concept which I have favoured for some years now - the actual way that gravity alone was able to drive Bessler's wheel.
But, as I've been unable to get on with my Bessler wheel experiments for the last few weeks, due to other commitments, I have been restricted to just thinking about it and studying the drawings - and I think I have discovered something interesting in his main wheel drawing. It's extremely obscure and I'm fairly confident that you are unlikely to find it unless you've followed my own train of thought over the last three or four years. Having said that I wouldn't be surprised to learn that others have made the same connection, but I should think that if I am right then so should they be and therefore we would surely have heard about it by now - in which case either I'm wrong about this particular aspect of ther drawing - or no one else has made the connection.
I hope to make an experimental mechanism to test my thinking next week and if it works I'll follow it up with a full prototype - and that may test my basic hypothesis to destruction!
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