Sunday 30 October 2011

6th June 1712 + 300 years = 6th June 2012

In my last post I tried to make the point that without a small additional force we cannot make the wheel turn a full circle, and since no other force has been found that accomplishes this simple fact, I maintain my belief that there was only gravity required to drive the wheel. To my mind, believing that there is this other mysterious force available is far less believeable than that two bites at gravity were taken by each mechanism. I respect other people's opinions but I can't help feeling that there are going to be some people with egg on their faces when the solution is found.

I have just read an excellent explanation as to why these other forces such as centrifugal and the other ones associated with a spinning wheel cannot ever be sufficient to supply that extra force. See the Besslerwheel forum response to my post entitled, "A theory about why the number five is so prominent in Johann Bessler's works." by nicbordeaux. The link is at

Thanks to technoguy for reminding me about next year's 300th anniversary of Bessler's first exhibition of his gravitywheel at Gera. I hadn't forgotten but these things have a habit of creeping up on you and all of a sudden it's here and nothing has been done in preparation. Somehow we must find a way to celebrate it, ideally with a working version of Bessler's wheel. While I am optimistic that this will be achieved by then, I have to be realistic and admit that after 300 years of failures, the odds are against us succeeding, so we might just miss that date!

Nevertheless, I'm confident that someone will succeed in the next couple of years and I intend to do something to draw people's attention to this significant date - why? Because if a working wheel has not been made by then I think we shall need more publicity to attract new minds to the problem. Maybe none of us 'oldies' familar with the story will succeed and it will take someone with a completely fresh outlook to finally win the prize. How can we grab some headlines? I don't know and I'm not really into making a public spectacle of myself,at least not deliberately - however....

From 27 July to 12 August 2012 the London Olympics will be taking place and the eyes of the world will turned this way, and maybe with all the journalists and other media present and probably looking for stories to send home, before the Olympics start, perhaps I can grab some media attention? I don't have any ideas yet but I'm working on it.


Friday 28 October 2011

Gravity can be used to power gravitywheels continuously because it is a conservative force.

Many people believe that Johann Bessler's claims were genuine, in which case an acceptable theory which fits in with modern science, has to be found which will allow a gravity-driven (or gravity-powered) wheel to work. There is strong scepticism against such a device for good reason. It appears to go against everything we have been taught. Putting on one side, for a moment, the statement which says you can't do it because gravity is a conservative force, there is the seeming impossibility of raising a weight again once it has fallen, causing a wheel to overbalance. That energy appears to be lost and therefore an additional energy source is sought which will bridge the gap or close the circle.

Various methods have been suggested such as using ambient temperature changes or static electricity or even a solenoid valve on a spring. The truth is that no one has come up with a viable additional energy source - except for me! We know Bessler said his weights worked in pairs; I have suggested that the secondary, 'shifter', weight fell and in doing so moved the primary or 'shifted' weight into a position which unbalanced the wheel. The additional energy source is therefore also gravity. There are two weights, one falls and has no effect on overbalancing the wheel but the second weight is moved by the action of the first weight and it is that one's position which overbalances the wheel.  There are two pieces of gravity used separately,

I have, in the past compared the force of gravity to the wind in an attempt to show that it may be a conservative force but that does not mean it cannot be used to drive a weighted wheel continuously. The wind is used to drive windmills, waterwheels and boats, why not gravity?

Because my argument rested on the theory that wind was a conservative force I sought support for the idea from the internet. Surely I would find either a definitive statement that wind was conservative or nonconservative. Imagine my surprise therefore to discover the extraordinary fact that I am unable to find a single web site which definitively states that wind is either conservative or nonconservative! Nobody discusses it - or nobody is able to say one way or the other.

I did find one fleeting reference which stated that "wind drag is friction and therefore non-conservative". The example referred to a racing car and the effect of wind drag which was therefore friction and so a nonconservative force. I agree in that context, but let us consider some simple definitions secured from the internet.

"The work done by a conservative force in moving a particle between two points is independent of the path taken." This also applies to the wind, we only measure the strength of the wind by seeing how far it moves something from A to B, the path is irrelevant.

I can lift a fallen rock against gravity and allow it to fall again. I can also catch a balloon blowing in the wind towards me and carry it back upwind and allow it to blow downwind again. There is a clue in the words "UPwind" and "DOWNwind".

"A conservative force can be thought of as a force that conserves mechanical energy. Suppose a particle starts at point A, and there is a constant force F acting on it. Then the particle is moved around by other forces, and eventually ends up at A again. Though the particle may still be moving, at that instant when it passes point A again, it has traveled a closed path. If the net work done by F at this point is 0, then F passes the closed path test. Any force that passes the closed path test for all possible closed paths is classified as a conservative force". When the wind causes a windmill to rotate, the blades travel a closed path so the wind is a conservative force.

"For non-conservative forces, the mechanical energy that is lost (not conserved) has to go somewhere else, by conservation of energy. Usually the energy is turned into heat, for example the heat generated by friction. In addition to heat, friction also often produces some sound energy. The water drag on a moving boat converts the boat's mechanical energy into not only heat and sound energy, but also wave energy at the edges of its wake. These and other energy losses are irreversible because of the second law of thermodynamics."  The windmills provide useful and usable energy - it is not 'lost' - which can grind flour and pump water etc. So wind is not a nonconservative force.

"Conservative Forces are reversible forces, meaning that the work done by a conservative force is recoverable, i.e. you can get out any work you put in or vise versa." Wind is a reversible force. Not only does the wind drive windmills but, for instance, you can electrically drive a windmill and produce wind. The wind is a reversible conservative force. use an electric fan and place a small windmill in the path of the wind. The windmill will begin to turn.

Saying that gravity cannot power a gravitywheel because it is a conservative force is incorrect. However this does not solve the problem of how to make it work for us but it does show that it is not impossible just because it is a conservative force.


Thursday 27 October 2011

Why is the number five so prominent in Johann Bessler's works?

I wasn't sure whether to place this on the Bessler forum or just put it here on my blog, and certainly previous experience has taught me that many people either deride the theories expressed or argue forcefully against them, but I hope to gather some more support to my own view. I know I tend to be in a minority when expressing my belief that Bessler's wheel was gravity-driven, even here, but perhaps it will help me if I give my thoughts an airing. Any way I'll probably post it on both because it seems to me to be too important to ignore.

Most people are aware of the ubiquity of the number 5 encoded in all of Bessler's publications and many don't see any significance other than perhaps a nod to some kind of mystery school teaching designed to hint at the inventor's knowledge of ancient wisdom. I don't believe that theory, I'm convinced that Bessler was passing on information.

I have always thought that there were two hard facts established about the internal workings of Bessler's wheel and one of them was that there were five mechanisms. The other was that the weights worked in pairs. All else is open to conjecture. But one certainty is that Bessler thought that this piece of information was extremely important and even encoded it in his name right from the moment he adopted the pseudonym, Orffyreus.

I believe that five mechanisms were required because for me there is no other sensible interpretation to be taken from the clues - the number five is indicated by both the numeral five in text and code and by the presence of the pentagram in the drawings. I cannot think of any other reason for its presence so here I try to understand why it's a necessity to a working wheel.

Five mechanisms would need the wheel to be divided into five equal parts of 72 degrees each. Although I understand the argument that even one or maybe two mechanisms should be enough to demonstrate the principle, I think more will be required to achieve a useful rate of rotation. Let's suppose that each mechanism only produces a mechanical advantage (or overbalance) once in each rotation; then each one must be able to produce it sufficiently to turn the wheel at least 72 degrees, but less than, say 90, otherwise four mechanisms might suffice. Maybe it can just about reach 90 degrees but perhaps that isn't enough to maintain rotation? There would have to be an overlap of mechanical advantage (or overbalance) for each mechanism in order to maintain rotation and the greater the overlap the faster the acceleration.

Bessler wrote that "one cross bar makes the machine revolve slowly, just as if it can hardly turn at all. But on the contrary when I arrange to have many crossbars, pulleys and weights, the machine revolves much faster". (from Apologia Poetica - published by John Collins). If the mechanical advantage (or overbalancing effect) only amounted to a little over 72 degrees, and this happened only once in a single rotation, and there was only one such mechanism on the wheel, then the rest of the turn would have to take place with the wheel in a condition of balance. One can see how such an arrangement would produce a wheel which could hardly turn. Two, three, or four mechanisms would have little different effect if the overbalance only amounted to just over 72 degrees as there would be no continuity between each mechanism's action. An overlap of overbalancing would be required and if the mechanisms can only achieve an overbalance for, say 80 degrees of any single rotation, then anything less than five mechanisms will result as Bessler has described.

But if five mechanisms were introduced, then with more than a 72 degree portion of the full rotation for each mechanism, you would get the required overlap and an accelerating and continuous rotation.

This argument presupposes that the reader accepts the possibility of a gravity driven wheel - as I do! ;-)

Monday 24 October 2011

Bessler's defence statement

It has often been suggested that perhaps Bessler was not as innocent as he claimed, otherwise he would have done more to defend himself against the claims of the maid. Well he did, but the records of his defence are unpublished as yet.

On New Year's day in 1728, shortly after the maid's accusations were made, Bessler began writing a 60 page statement concerning the claims of his maid and others and answering all accusations with a strong and righteous defence. I have a copy which, unfortunately, is largely illegible (for me at least) as it is the version Bessler kept for his records. The clean copy is undergoing restoration currently and may not be available for some time to come.

The little I have been given reveals that he complains frequently about the 'evil maid' and also about a large group of conspirators who have acted against him. They include several of his first wife's in-laws, including his former mother-in-law, his sisters-in-law and their husbands and other hangers on. His father-in-law was dead and therefore his wife was left to her own devices and she had little or no money and so she headed for Kassel to ingratiate herself with her daughter, Barbara, who unfortunately died in May 1726. Apparently the mother-in-law, also called Barbara, tried to manipulate Bessler to her financial advantage. His official title of Commercial Councellor gave him access to a number of schemes, some of the funding of which, she tried to divert for her own purposes. It seems that the accusations of the maid may well have been instigated by Barbara senior in an effort to threaten/blackmail Bessler into giving in to her coercions.

If this seems unlikely, remember that the maid had already served two prison sentences - and Barbara senior was the subject of a thirteen year long investigation into an infanticide in which herself, her maid and two of her daughters was involved.  The legal investigators had been searching for the maid who was 'lost', and it is suggested that with Barabara senior's husband's death and therfore the withdrawal of his protection as Mayor of their towm she had to flee, and so she headed for the maid's home and her recently deceased daughter. The baby in question might have been Bessler's, conceived on an earlier visit, but there is no evidence yet to prove or disprove that possibility.

I look forward to the day when the cleaned document is available and we can at last get the other side of the story.


Thursday 20 October 2011

Johann Bessler's Hydrostatic balance.

In 1720 Johann Bessler is recorded as having made a hydrostatic balance for Johann Adam Cass. I have included a picture of it, as it still exists in the Landesmuseum in Kassel. I don't know how much of the whole instrument was down to Bessler, but looks well made.

This picture is from a book written by Henri Michel, called "Scientific Instruments in Art and History" Viking 1967.  He writes:-
"The balance shown here was made in 1720, by Johann Ernst Elias Bessler (1680- 1745), (known as Orffyreus, and notorious for his "Wheel" or perpetual motion machine) for the military engineer Johann Adam Cass of Kassel".

There is also a picture of the same instrument in "Die Naturwissenschaftlich-Technischesammlung" by Ludolf Von Mackensen (Kassel: George Wenderloth Verlag, 1991).

It will be recalled that Johann Adam Cass was a witness and one of the signatories and chief examiner of the Gera wheel. It seems that he moved to Kassel shortly after Bessler, to be in charge of military engineering there there.

In 1720 Cass published a book called "Neu verbesserter Ingenieur" which means "New Advanced Engineering", In 1722 he published "Nouveau corrige ou par des demostrations guide de l'ingenieur à la veritable mathematique",meaning "New or corrected by demonstration, Engineering Guide to mathematical truth". These publications were sponsored by Karl, the Landgrave.

The hydrostatic balance was a frequent component of perpetual motion designs and is still sometimes introduced as part of the mechanism.  Bessler seems to have included them in some of his Maschinen Tractate designs

I have also included the concept in my own designs from time to time but in the end I prefer the simplicity of weights, but are we denying the potential benefits of a the hydrostatic balance?  I don't think so.


Thursday 13 October 2011

A real Bessler documentary on the cards?

Wow! You guys have been busy, it's taken me an hour just to catch up on all your comments. I hate to interrupt the flow with a blog but perhaps you can continue here or on the previous blog?

I'm back after a delightful week in sunny Spain, and among the emails awaiting me, I received an interesting one from an Italian documentary maker, who wishes to produce a film about Johann Bessler.

They say that they would use me as the main narrator (God help them!) and intend to film in the Trivulziana Library of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan. Interestingly for me, somebody on the Bessler forum kindly brough to my attention the existence of another copy of Das Triumphirende which is held at that this particular library.  I was able  to obtain high definition copies of their portraits from the library. This is the only other example that I'm aware of which includes the double portraits with the hole in one as did my own copy, which I used to have but which I passed on to another, safer pair of hands.

I assume (at this early stage I have no details) that if we are to film in this famous library, that I shall be able to see and examine this copy and I am delighted at the prospect.

The company, FarmStudioFactory, are an Italian film and television production company, but appear to make films for other people so it will be interesting to try to get some background on this to see where the idea originated.  I scraped up a few details on the library as I was so interested in it and this is what I found:-
"Along with the Cathedral - Milan's most famous and much beloved monument - the big Castle is linked to the vicissitudes and dramatic events that the city has experienced over the past centuries. For many years, in fact, it has represented a symbol of the power in the hands of the Dukes, as well as of the foreign dominators. Only at the beginning of the 20th century the Castle assumed its distinctive role, becoming a place of culture, which hosted numerous Lombard art collections. The Castle was named after Francesco Sforza, who transformed it into a ducal residence in 1450. But its origins date back to the second half of the 14th century, at the time of Galeazzo II Visconti.
Hosted inside the Castello Sforzesco is the revered Trivulziana Library. The library can be accessed to examine parchments, documents, records and prints. The Historic Archive preserves all the acts of the Municipality of Milan and of the Duchy dating back as far as 1385."
I also would like to know the history, the provenance,  of this particular copy of the Das Tri and how it came to reside in Italy. I have always believed that the other countries of Europe might hold some further accounts of Johann Bessler and it seems to me that a documentary about him could engage the attention of the right people to bring such information to the surface.

I'll tell you more when I know more. I should not get too excited as this kind of thing has happened to me before, more than once, and the project has always gone out like a damp squib!


Monday 3 October 2011

Pendulums again.

Still trying to find the time to make my latest mechanism, unfortunately another week in Spain looms close, so it looks as though I'll be delayed again! Who am I kidding, I love it there! This week has seen the hottest October since records began, with temperatures of 29 degrees Celsius( that's 84F deg in real money!) - I know that's not particularly hot but for October its just amazing. It's all going downhill again on Tuesday so it looks as though my trip is timed to perfection. I will be connected there so I can keep any eye on things and maybe even write a blog about the wine, beer and sangria!

I'm tangled up in thoughts about the second drawing in Das Tri at the moment, and trying to discern exactly what Bessler was trying to tell us with the double drawing. The large triangular pendulum is intriguing and the three different angles seem to point, in my opinion, to the thirty degrees at the bottom - maybe its critical? I have the thought that a weight about to fall through 90 degrees ( a quarter) would need to be leaning a little in order to begin its fall as soon as possible. Each number on the clock is seperated by thirty degrees, so one o'clock is thirty degrees from twelve o'clock. Should we start the fall at one o'clock to stop at three o'clock?


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