Saturday, 25 February 2012

Don't assume everything on the internet is correct - it ain't!

The internet is a wonderful source of information but the problem with it is that incorrect information can be spread as easily as the correct stuff.  My work on writing the new book on Bessler is proceeding well and I have tried to ensure that all the information in it is correct, however in the course of double-checking everything some inaccuracies are inevitably found.

In my first version of Bessler's biography I wrote during my research, I had come across no less than three accounts written over a period of some fifty years or more, which all use the same argument in support of their author's contention that Orffyreus was a fraud. They explain away Professor 'sGravesande's belief in the wheel in the following manner. I will quote from the latest account which uses very similar words to the two previous ones. Arthur W.J.G. Ord-Hume's book is called "Perpetual Motion - The History of an Obsession". After describing the examination of the wheel at Kassel by 'sGravesande, the author remarks;

'The Professor certainly seems to have had some measure of faith in the wheel and the demonstration of its ability to turn without apparent external force. We ought not to forget, though, that it may have proved easy to dupe an honest old man whose confidence in humanity was probably unbounded . . . .It is not recorded whether the aging academician ever received a reply to his letter to Sir Isaac Newton.'

As this argument attempted to cast doubt on the professor's competence to decide whether the machine was valid or not, it was important to check his age. If he was elderly, then his capacity as a valuable witness was potentially impaired. In fact, this 'honest old man', this 'aging academician' was born on the 26th September 1688, which means that at the time of the Kassel examination he had reached the grand old age of thirty-three! He lived for over another twenty years, dying in 1742. In 1730 he was described as one of the great luminaries of scientific experimentation at Leiden University, possibly the foremost University of the age. His lectures drew the biggest crowds of students. This does not sound like a man of failing intellectual powers, and he was certainly one who could form an opinion based on the evidence in front of him, which others could rely on as accurate. He would not have upset Orffyreus so much if he had not had the courage to ask the most searching questions concerning the Kassel wheel. The argument that he was old and gullible is invalidated.

It has also been pointed out that I did not include anything about Frank Edwards, "Bessler's Wonderful Wheel", 1956, in which he gives an account of Bessler's wheel.  I omitted it because it contains information which is just plain wrong.  One could kindly call it Poetic Licence, but it is misleading.  According to Edwards,  "When the oiled cloth was stripped away, said Count Karl, he found himself gazing upon a very simple arrangement of weights and levers. Orffyreus explained that he had conceived a system whereby the weights one side of the wheel were farther from the axle than the weights on the other side of the wheel, creating an imbalance which caused the wheel to move. The secret, if there was a secret, lay in the ingenious manner in which the weights on the ascending side of the wheel were prevented from following their normal path next to the rim. Count Karl said that these weights were blocked by small pegs which swung back out of the way as the weight passed the zenith."  There is no documentary evidence to support this account and anyway it does not fit with Karl's recorded actions - it is wrong and that is why I originally left it out, however  have included it in the new book if only to correct the information being published.  Edwards includes a numerous other mistakes such as Christian Wagner being called Claus Wagner for example

But there are still factual errors being posted on the interner and copied and pasted on other websites.  For example in the Gera certificate one of the signees is called Christian Lange and on one website it states that he was Bessler's cousin.  This is not true, Bessler's cousin was Detter Langer, but obviously this was due to a simple misreading of the text, but it has been copied to two other web sites to my certain knowledge. In addition this same website has stated that another signee, Johann Georg Pertsch is described as a professor at University of Helmstedt, however he didn't graduate until 1716 and was only 18 in 1712.  The correct man was his father of the same name and was never a professor and he did not attend University of Helmstedt.  An easy mistake to make but it could lead to confusion.

There are numerous errors on the internet and I have tried to right those relating to Bessler and I hope that when my new book does finally appear it will be error free.  But these little mischiefs do creep in and along with typos and spelling mistakes, are the author's bĂȘte noire.

My granddaughter wants me to include this clever little trinket, 
"Don't let 'assume' make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'".



  1. Good show John,you put the record straight!

  2. Your granddaughter's comment is funny, I had a boss in Alaska correct me about a task I thought I had done right, with that little saying. That was 1979 in Palmer Alaska.

  3. I'd never heard it before, Bob, although I'm told it's been around awhile.


  4. It's very hard to eliminate all errors. Many years ago as a young engineer straight out of university, I had made a silly, obvious error in some work I had been assigned. My boss, much older and more experienced, picked up the error, so the system worked, but I got well criticised from some others in the office. I always remember my boss's comment: "The only man who never makes a mistake is the one who never does any work," he said, (with a pointed look at one or two of my workmates). That shut them up; but still I shouldn't have made the error.

    Another useful saying goes something like "If you even suspect you may need to do more checking, then you certainly do."

  5. I, too, must reject Edwards' information about the internal mechanics of Bessler's wheels because it makes no mention of interconnecting cords or tensioning springs. He obviously envisioned a design that used inward (toward the axle) pointing levers whose pivots were attached to the inner curving surface of the drum's periphery This is obviously false because the weights at the ends of the levers in Bessler's wheels were landing on wooden stops attached to inner surface of the periphery (and therefore the levers pointed away from the axles). I have tried many designs similar to what Edwards' proposed in the past and none ever worked (come to think of it, HE is the one who sent me traveling down that "wrong track"! LOL!).

    For example, one can have the weighted levers standing up vertically as they pass the 6:00 position of the drum and then have them gently fall through a small angle toward the descending side of a CW rotating drum until they hit a blocking peg. A single spring is then stretched a bit by each falling weighted lever and serves to cushion its impact against its inner stop. This action will, of course, shift the CoM of a drum's 8 weights to the drum's descendng side.

    Simultaneously as drum rotation continues, now hanging weighted levers which approach the 12:00 position of the drum will also be pulled toward the drum's descending side by the still stretched springs attached to them until they hit another internal stop located on the other side of the lever. Thus, as Edwards suggests, weights passing the 12:00 position of the drum will part company with one stop as they shift toward their other stop. The idea is to continuously maintain the imbalanced CoM of all 8 weights in this manner.

    Yes, it sounds like it should work, but, after dozens of tries with different variations, I realized it does not work and, most importantly, CAN NOT work. Bessler's internal wheel mechanics were more complicated than this. Also, the Edwards' approach creates "gentle" impact sounds around 6:00 and 12:00 and not near 3:00 which is where I have good reason to believe they were occurring.

    Yet, Edwards' account, like those of Dirks, Gould and JC, probably helped to stimulate many a newbie mobilist to begin a search for PM and, despite its flaws, it should be preserved and mentioned as part of the Bessler literature. It's quite obvious to me that Edwards' was just as fascinated by the Bessler story as we all are.

    Let's see...witty saying from new employers? Here's one that sticks in my mind:

    "There's never enough time to do things right the first time, but, when that approach fails, there always seems to be plenty of time to go back and do them all over again the right way!"

  6. The internet can be a blessing and a scourge at the same time. Churchill, as so often, said it the most eloquently: "it would be a great reform in politics if wisdom could be made to spread as easily and as rapidly as folly". Which is, of course, absolutely true. The same goes for the internet. Some gems of information can be found, but at the same time humongous quantities of the most abject lies, deceptions, half-truths and propaganda can be found as well.

    Another reason why I value and admire your meticulous research work so much, John. To paraphrase Churchill again, you are "easily satisfied by the very best". I admire people that strive to expose the truth and nothing but the truth, as accurately and complete as possible.

    This world needs a lot more people like that.

  7. Looks like this blog is starting to die! Here's a shot of adrenalin to stimulate it back to life again.

    Anybody have any thoughts concerning the following page 341 AP quote?

    "Wagner describes how he thinks my machine is constructed; he babbles about “excess weights” being snatched along, by means of “internal motive power”, in a frequently-repeated cycle of up and down movements. According to him, Nature dictates that things gravitate downwards. But the weights, which rest below must, in a flash, be raised upwards, and it is this, that Wagner cannot force himself to accept. But, crazy Wagner, just note that that is indeed the case with my device."

    Poor Wagner...he was so obviously a "wrong tracker"!

  8. Thanks for your concern techo, but I didn't expect much of a reaction to this latest blog as it was just me having a little whinge about people copying and pasting errors.

    As for your quote I completely understand it but I cannot possibly comment further. Anything I say about it will give the game away and I'm still trying to find the time to complete my latest construction based on what I now know. I have understood the design for many months but only recently, since just before Christmas, did I finally get the whole thing clear in my head. I made a rough model of the mechanism at that time and since then I've been struggling to make time to apply it to a wheel. But what with flu among my whole family, rewriting the book, dealing with other family problems - and the freezing weather, I simply haven't had the time I would like to work on it.

    But the weather is improving, everyone's health is getting better and I see some windows in the weeks ahead which I'm setting aside for me to finish my wheel!


  9. Ditto John!,...I also understand how the wheel works.The snatching of the weights has to be done at 12:00 and 6:00 o'clock.That all I'm revealing at this stage.

  10. It's truly amazing how many people "understand" the secret of Bessler's wheels and yet we still do not have a working wheel! Obviously, with all of these different "understandings" floating about, all but one will be delusions that will lead to nothing but a massive waste of time, effort, and money. However, in my continuing effort to promote what I call the "right track" approach to solving the Bessler mystery, let me briefly interpret that AP quote for anyone trying to finally get on the "right track".

    When Bessler writes about "the weights, which rest below", he is referring to those weights which are attached to levers whose pivots are traveling from a position directly below a CW rotating drum's axle at the 6:00 position to a position horizontally level with the axle at the drum's 9:00 position on its ascending side. During this 90 degrees of CW drum rotation, the weights cause the levers to rotate CCW about their pivots so that by the time a pivot reaches the 9:00 position, the lever makes its maximum angle away from a horizontal line passing through the axle. Thus, the weights "gravitate to the center (or axle)" during this 90 degree interval of CW drum rotation and actually get closer to the axle.

    Once a weighted lever reaches the 9:00 position of the drum, however, something VERY unexpected begins to happen: the weighted lever then begins to rotate CW around its pivot as its weight starts "climbing back up again" toward its rim stop. This climb "back up again", however, is not fully completed until the weighted lever's pivot has reached the 3:00 position all the way over on the descending side of the drum! Thus, this return to its rim stop requires 180 degrees of CW drum rotation whereas the initial separation of the weight from its rim stop only required 90 degrees of CW drum rotation.

    Consider what would have been happening inside of the Weissenstein wheel. At a maximum terminal rotation rate of 26 rpm, it would have completed a single rotation or 360 degrees in about 2.31 seconds. This means it would also have completed a 1/2 rotation or 180 degrees in 1.15 seconds and a 1/4 rotation or 90 degress in only 0.58 seconds.

    From this we see that it only took about 1.15 seconds for a weight at its maximum separation from its rim stop at the drum's 9:00 position to finally reach its rim stop at the drum's 3:00 position. I think this rapid "rise" (I use this word even though, technically, the weight is actually dropping toward its rim stop as its lever's pivot approaches the drum's 3:00 position!) could certainly be described as "in a flash". I will leave it to the active mobilist with a "discerning eye" to fill in the "minor" mechanical details necessary to make this mechanical miracle happen. LOL!

    Some friendly advice for all: Beware of ANY design that requires big swings in weighed levers during a small increment of drum rotation or which places the CoM of the weights directly horizontally away from the axle and onto the drum's descending side by a large distance. Such designs are ALWAYS "wrong track" designs. In Bessler's wheels the stabilized CoM of a drum's active weights was always below a horizontal line passing through the axle and only displaced onto the drum's descending side by a much shorter distance from a vertical line passing through the axle.

  11. More friendly advice: technoguy is on the wrong track. It sounds good in writing, but there isn't a levered, spring loaded mechanism that can move weights against gravity, and more importantly, against inertia, in the manner he describes. Does everyone see that?

  12. I have read on the internet that the principle used on the bi directional wheel is the same principle as on the uni directional wheel , yet apparently bessler stated otherwise , that it was a different principle used on the bi directional wheel .

  13. My reference to understanding the wheel has nothing to do with weights and their critical positioning.
    It has to do with to do with the raising of weights in a manner that requires little or no effort.
    This is the secret principle that makes the wheel motion possible.

  14. Part I:

    @ Doug

    Pardon me if I prefer to follow the advice of Master Bessler instead of yours! Bessler says "the weights, which rest below must, in a flash, be raised upwards". That's good enough for me! It CAN be done and he did it. Those who are finally on the "right track" will also eventually do it.

    @ Anonymous 10:43

    On page 352 of AP, we read:

    "You also wish me to inform you why the Draschwitz machine did not create a similar noise; well, I’ll tell you. The two machines can easily be contrasted, as they worked on quite different principles. The former (Draschwitz) one turned in only one direction, but the latter (Merseburg) one turned, as everyone could see, both ways. The former was provided with felt coverings, but the latter was as bare as a bald head."

    By "different principles" Bessler just means that the construction and mode of operation of the two wheels was different, NOT that their basic means of producing torque was different. Thus, a motorcycle and an automobile can be said to have different constructions and operational principles because one has two tires and the other four. However, both vehicles are propelled by the same basic type of internal combustion process.

    One must think of Bessler's two-directional wheels as consisting of two one-directional wheels housed side by side in the same drum. They were arranged so that they would tend to turn the axle in opposite directions. Obviously, this configuration will produce zero net torque and the wheel would remain stationary when not in use and not have to be tied down like a one-direction wheel would need to be.

    Giving a stationary two-directional wheel a push in either direction, however, would cause a remarkable thing to happen. The sub wheel undergoing "retrograde" motion (that is, motion opposite to the "natural" direction it prefered to turn in) would, after a complete rotation, have all of its weighed levers locked into position against their rim stops by a set of gravity activated latches (the engaging and disengaging of these latches during each drum rotation produced the "clattering" sounds noted for the Merseburg wheel). The CoM of that sub wheel would then return to the center of the axle and not participate in accelerating the wheel to is maximum terminal rotation rate as would the remaining driving sub wheel which was turning in its prefered direction of motion.

    Bessler came up with his two-directional design to counter the claims of his detractors that his wheels were powered by falling weights or clockwork mainsprings attached to the section of axle within a drum that could only make them turn in one direction. He needn't have bothered because it IS possible to make a mainspring driven wheel that will turn in either direction. Also, his two-directional wheel design wasted the valuable mass of the inactive sub wheel's weights which could have contributed to the total wheel's torque and power output and doubled them.

  15. Part II:

    Trevor wrote:

    "It has to do with the raising of weights in a manner that requires little or no effort.
    This is the secret principle that makes the wheel motion possible."

    Oh, I QUITE agree! You are definitely starting to sound like a "right tracker" to me!

    This is probably THE final secret of the Bessler wheel and even trumps the Connectedness Principle in importance! While the Connectedness Principle is certainly necessary, it still will not result in a working wheel without that extra secret principle that was "vouchsafed" by GOD to Bessler alone! This extra detail involves some VERY careful counter balancing of the ascending side weighted levers within a drum and is something that will require a mobilist to push his mind and body to the extreme limit to uncover.

    Bessler alludes to this secret principle on page 357 of AP:

    "I don't want to go into the details here of how suddenly the excess weight is caused to rise. You can't comprehend these matters, or see how true craftsmanship can rise above innate lowly tendencies (as does a weight above the point of application of a lever)"

    When pressured to reveal this extra principle, Bessler would simply claim that he was too tired or dizzy to go into the matter in detail. Actually, this wasn't a complete lie because he had suffered a nasty fall and the resulting concussion would have produced these symptoms. BUT, he also knew that this detail was the KEY to final success AFTER a competitor had figured out the Connectedness Principle and Bessler had no intention of dispensing that key until AFTER he received his 100,000 thalers.

    Considering what he went through to find this extra principle, I can't say I blame him in the least!

    (Always with the "Prove you're not a robot" when I'm making a comment here!!! BUT...I AM a robot and I'm damned PROUD to be one! LOL!)

  16. @technoguy

    If you are stating that there were two different principles used inside the wheels for unidirectional and bidirectional wheels respectively why do you keep insisting that there is only one way to build a version of Bessler's wheel?

    Take for example a petrol powered engine. It uses petrol burning/igniting/exploding as the driving force. But, there are 4 stroke, 2 stroke, rotary, turbine and stirling type engines. All of them rotate an output shaft. All of them have water vapour, carbon dioxide and other gases in their exhaust. All of them have petrol and oxygen as their input. However, they all operate on different principles.

    From what I have read in JC's book and other historical writings the bidirectional wheel had the sound of weights falling. The unidirectional wheel was not reported as having weights falling but it did make other sounds. This then makes it appear that the internal mechanisms (principles) were actually different as Bessler says. If anyone could elaborate on this it would be helpful.

  17. That's right Anon,..Once you have the key then there are many ways to build a wheel.

  18. @ Anonymous 07:23

    One must not get too concerned about the words "different principles" that Bessler used to contrast the Drashwitz and Merseburg wheels (I've never liked this translation). By the word "principles" he is referring only to the different internal arrangements and modes of operation (that is, self starting versus push starting) of these two wheels and not to the basic mechanics by which torque was created inside of their drums. Those mechanics were, essentially, the SAME for both of these wheels despite the Drashwitz wheel being one-directional and the Mersheburg wheel two-directional. In other words, there is only one basic mechanical system that achieves PM, but it can be "packaged" in various ways depending upon how one wants a wheel to perform.

    There are, however, several other true principles that Bessler alludes to which do not relate to the arrangment of sub wheels within a drum or to the method used to start a drum turning. These principles refer to the actual processes employed by the basic mechanics of his wheels that make gravity activated PM possible. I will briefly summarize these principles:

    1.) The "Preponderance Principle" which means that an OB wheel will only continue to turn IF the CoM of its weights can be make to CONTINUOUSLY stay on a drum's descending side as the drum rotates. This principle is rather obvious, but Bessler's reference to it means his wheels did NOT depend on other forces such as CF for their torque (in fact, the CF experienced by ascending side weights is what limits the maximum rotation rate of a drum).

    2.) The "Connectedness Principle" which requires interconnecting cords between a drum's various weighted levers so that the energy / mass lost by descending weights on both sides of the axle can be directly transfered to the ascending side levers whose weights are beginning to "climb back" toward their rim stops.

    3.) The "Secret Principle". This is the final principle that the most advanced "right track" mobilists are now trying to find. It is the most elusive of the three and involves the careful counterbalancing of ascending side levers using spring tension. This principle is the most important of the three and the one which Bessler refused to discuss and about which he left the fewest clues. A "right track" mobilist can NOT finally duplicate Bessler's achievement unless and until he has discovered this third principle.

    Interestingly, just as Bessler's contemporary Isaac Newton had his THREE Laws of Motion, so, too, did Bessler have his THREE Principles of PERPETUAL Motion! What an amazing coincidence.

  19. @ Tehnoguy

    A little help please. I am having trouble relocating a quote and you seem to be very familiar with Bessler’s writings.

    I’m absolutely certain that I read somewhere that he said it was much easier to move weights sideways than it is to lift them, but try as I might I can’t find the passage again. Can you think where it was that he said this?

    I thought this might be an interesting clue to ‘flag up’ and for people to ponder.


  20. @ JW

    A comment by Bessler related to H & V for stork-bills can be found in the description of MT 041

    Probably not the passage that you were looking for but its the only one I can remember.

    Let's see what technoguy can find....

  21. @ JW

    Anonymous 01:05 is right. Here's the footnote to MT 41:

    "This is yet another stork’s-bill model. It is not necessary first to explain the letters. There is only this to mention: the present horizontal application of the stork’s bills is always better than the machine with the vertical application, which constantly has more friction. I can assure the reader that there is something special behind the stork’s bills. Whoever knows how to construct them will note that the figures sketched here are not exactly the correct artistic application."

    Bessler is just saying here that the stork's bill will work easier when it is horizontal than when it is vertical (note: what is translated here as "stork bill" I would have translated as "scissor jack"). This is obvious since the vertical application requires the stork bill to lift its OWN mass in addition to any external mass that it is lifting.

    What was so "special" about the stork bill and why what is included on the mysterious "Toys Page" of MT. Well, if you really study the vertical stork bill in MT, you will notice that it contains 8 "X" shaped scissors that decrease in size as one ascends the stork bill. As one squeezes together the handles at the bottom, the height of the stork bill will dramatically increase. Thus, Bessler is indicating there how the action in one part of a mechanical system can affect all other parts of the system. He is trying to indicate the action of the "Connectedness Principle" which interconnects all of the active weighted levers within one of his wheel's and allows them to affect each other. This symbolism is reinforced by there being 8 scissors in the Toys Page stork bill and there also being 8 weighted levers in the active portions of his latter two directional wheels.

    I should mention here that Bessler's wheels did NOT use stork bills (come to think of it didn't JC try constructing a wheel years ago with stork bills that was a non-runner?). Stork bills are mechanically complicated and can introduce ALOT of friction into a wheel's mechanics. They are to be avoided.

    All of the weights inside of Bessler's wheels were undergoing BOTH horizontal AND vertical displacements during drum rotation. But, it is only the vertical displacements that should be of interest to the "right track" mobilist. These are the ones that would transfer energy / mass from those weights that were sinking to those that were rising during each 45 degrees of drum rotation.

  22. I have been analysing a simple mechanical system in which a single weight rises and falls, and have found a definite energy gain. The amusing thing is that once the principle was explained, even the most orthodox critic could not deny the energy gain, although most would probably claim it couldn't be extracted as a real, net energy output. But it can be.

    The bad news is that the gain is quite small, e.g. just over one-third of a joule for a 10kg weight rising and falling through 1 meter under optimum conditions. The somewhat good news is that a machine exploiting this principle could have any number of weights, and could run at any (feasible) rotational speed. So a machine with ten 10kg weights running at 600 rpm would deliver about 33 watts, ignoring frictional losses etc.

  23. Arktos: that is very, very interesting indeed! Can you share a little with us about this?


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