Monday, 12 March 2012

Sir Isaac Newton's Perpetual Motion machine.

This is in the interests of trying to correct misleading information relating to Bessler/Orffyreus

Since posting information about Floriano's website at, I've received a number of emails questioning the sketch which, according to him, was done by professor Willem 's Gravesande, and sent to Sir Isaac Newton.  This sketch was actually drawn by Sir Isaac himself. about 24 years before Gravesande was born!  In my first book about Bessler (Perpetual Motion, An Ancient Mystery Solved?) I included the drawing, shown below, because it indicated that Newton considered that a perpetual motion machine could be possible when interacting with gravity.

I wrote that, 'It is a little known fact that in his early notebooks under the heading "Quaestiones"[sic] Newton speculates that gravity (heaviness) is caused by the descent of a subtle matter which strikes all bodies and carries them down. "Whither ye rays of gravity may bee stopped by reflecting or refracting ye, if so a perpetual motion may bee made one of these two ways." Adjacent to these words, Newton added two sketches of perpetual motion powered by the "flux of the gravitational stream".

In full he wrote,

"Try whither the weight of a body may be altered by heate or cold, by dilatation or condensition, beating , poudering, transfering to severall places or severall heights or placing a hot or heavy body over it or under it or by magnetisme whither leade or its dust spread abroade, whither a plate flat ways or edg ways in heaviest, whither the rays of gravity may bee stopped by refecting or refracting them, if so a perpetuall motion may bee made one of these two ways.

The gravity of bodys is as their solidity, because all body{s} descend equall spaces in equal {times} consideration being had to the Resistance of the aire &c"

Now people may well have come to the conclusion that such machines are impossible but it seemed to me then and I remain convinced of it,  that if Newton himself considered it possible and actually drew his  ideas on paper why should subsequent thinkers dismiss it?

In the lower half of the above drawing, Newton also shows his thoughts on using magnets too.

 "Atraction Magneticall

1 The motion of any magneticall ray may bee knowne by attracting a needle in a corke on water.

2 Whither a magneticall pendulum is perpendicular to the Horizon or not, & whither iron is heaviest when impregnated, or when the north pole or southpole is upmost. Coroll. A perpetuall motion .

3 Whither magneticall rays will blow a candle move a red hot copper or iron needle, or passe through a red hot plate of copper or iron

4 A perpetuall motion .

5 Whither a loadestone will not turne around a red hot iron fashioned like wind mill sailes as the wind doth them. Perhaps cold iron may reflect the magn: rays with that pole which shuns the lodestone."

He never published an opinion later on whether he believed such devices were possible or not.

For the modern rendering of Newton's Quaestions" notebook see



  1. Excellent blog topic, John.

    Alot of people read the famous Newton quote, "The seekers after perpetual motion are trying to get something from nothing.", and automatically assume that he was opposed to the idea of perpetual motion. Actually, all he is doing in that quote is defining what the process of PM would lead to and not denying its possibility. Indeed, PM does allow one to have a constant output of energy from a device without having to first input a greater amount of energy in some other conventional form. In the "right track" approach to solving the Bessler wheel mystery I've repeadedly advocated, the weights within one of Bessler's wheels actually served as the source of the energy / mass that they outputted.

    From Newton's sketch (which was inaccurately attributed to Gravesande by Floriano), it is obvious that Newton conceived of gravity as consisting of an incoming shower or "flux" of gravity particles. If one could then prevent this shower from striking the paddles on ONE side of a vertical gravity wheel (which then becomes the descending side), then the force of the particles striking the uncovered side of the wheel should make it rotate. In his sketch he places a thick layer of absorbing material over one side of his PM gravity wheel.

    I also found his quote: "Try whither the weight of a body may be altered by heate or cold..." to be MOST interesting. This is because he was making a VERY accurate guess there. Heating an object adds thermal energy to the object and thereby increases its mass! With that increased mass, the object will weight a bit more in a planetary gravity field. Unfortunately, the increase in weight is very small and difficult to measure. Thus, we see that Newton is actually anticipating something that would not be annuciated and verified until the beginning of the 20th century: Einstein's famous "Energy / Mass Equivalence Principle".

    I think that Newton would have been far "friendly" to Bessler and his inventions than most would have suspected. Indeed, I suspect that Newton might even have been a bit envious of Bessler as reports of his wheel demonstrations reached Newton. It's a pity that Newton was not able to personally test one of Bessler's wheels, but by the time Bessler began to exhibit his creations Newton was already an old man and traveling over to Kassel would have been a hardship for him.

  2. Correction:

    In my previous comment I wrote:

    "If one could then prevent this shower from striking the paddles on ONE side of a vertical gravity wheel (which then becomes the descending side), then the force of the particles striking the uncovered side of the wheel should make it rotate."

    That should have read:

    "If one could then prevent this shower from striking the paddles on ONE side of a vertical gravity wheel, then the force of the particles striking the uncovered side of the wheel (which then becomes the descending side) should make it rotate."

    Sorry about that.

  3. I sense an air of desperation here,..There's no need to go scratching around for other forms of energy.Don't you believe it was just plain gravity that turns the wheel.
    What ever gave you the idea the gravity was some form of radiation.You would get more energy from photons of light!
    Just because scientists cannot conceive that gravity can attract mass at a distance,it does not imply that it is not an inert coercive force that needs no tie.
    Let us stop theorizing about the nature of gravity and get back to basics.There is a definite configuration that allows one to take advantage of gravity to do work and that's a fact,even though hope deferred tends to challenge our concept.

  4. Just correcting some misinformation Trevor, nothing more!


  5. Sorry John,..I was not getting at you at all.It is good to hear about other's ideas because it often jogs one's creative thought.
    It might encourage you that I feel the wheel is soon to make it's appearance.Hold thumbs!

  6. Nice new layout of the blog! Interesting post about Newton, too. I read somewhere that Bessler once said, answering one of his many critics, that it was precisely Newton's laws that enabled his machine to work. Other great scientific minds, such as Tesla's, did not exclude the possibility of a gravity-driven machine either.

  7. Just HOW the gravitational force arises between two objects has been a mystery from ancient times to the present. But, then again, so is how the other "field" effects work (such as magnetism, electrical, and, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the strong and weak nuclear forces).

    I think that Newton's concept of particles of gravity is basically correct, but he got the directions wrong. Gravity particles do not shower down upon masses from somewhere "out there" in space, but, rather, they are emitted from each mass possessing subatomic particle within a piece of matter. As these gravity particles stream off into space, they can interact with those emanating from other masses and, somehow, the two intersecting streams are able to pull the objects together. If neither object does work on an "outside" object in the process of drawing together, then the energy / mass of each object will not change. It is also not necessary for these gravity particles to have mass as Newton would have believed. Once we finally understand the nature of these Newtonian gravity particles, then we will be able to do some interesting things such as artifically produce gravity fields or strengthen and weaken naturally occuring ones. If we could do that now, then making the PM gravity wheel Newton envisioned would be child's play! Bessler, however, did it the hard way WITHOUT having to alter the Earth's natural gravity field.

    Yes, Newton and Bessler might have become very close friends if either were living in the other's country.

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  9. I beg to disagree,..There is no such thing as gravity particles or waves for that matter.I'm tired of scientists trying to connect everything with strings or particles just because they cannot conceive that forces can act across space.
    The true be told all matter is connectivity electromagnetically by the rock solid fluid aether.Ask your self this,..if it was not rock solid,how do we explain inertia?

  10. @ Trevor

    The "Ether Theory" has alot of problems with it. On the one hand it is supposed to be tenuous enough for a planet to move through without losing any of its mass / energy and thereby experiencing a decaying orbit about its star. Yet, on the other hand the ether must also be so rigid that it can transmit electromagnetic waves at light velocity! Rather paradoxical properties when one thinks about it.

    A particle model for gravity, however, offers a way around this. If the gravity particles are submicroscopic, massless, and somehow loosely connected to each other, then they can easily move at and transmit waves at light velocity while also allowing far larger pieces of matter (such as an electron or nucleus!) to easily pass among them. I think inertial forces can also be explained in terms of the continuous emission of gravity particles from objects with mass. What would happen when such an object is accelerated or decelerated is that there would be a sort of warping that took place in the pattern of its emitted gravity particle "flux" and this distortion would then apply forces back to the object which opposed those forces trying to accelerate or decelerate the object.

    Understanding the ultimate nature of gravity is, thankfully, not necessary in order to understand how Bessler's wheels worked or to duplicate them. However, understanding HOW Bessler's wheels outputted their energy / mass and the source of that is important. That outputted energy / mass would have come from the active weights within a wheel's drum and the extraction process was only activated or enabled by the Earth's gravity field. None of the energy / mass a wheel outputted was directly supplied by the gravity field.

    Something to consider:

    Question: If one could go back in time and steal one of Bessler's wheels and then fly it to a planet whose surface gravity field was TWICE as intense as that of Earth's, then what would happen?

    Answer: The wheel when running would output TWICE as much power as it did on Earth, but it would only be able to do so for HALF as much time (which still might be in the billions of years!) since the wheel still used the same weights that it had when in Earth's gravity field. It's the same logic that inspired the saying: "The candle which burns twice as bright only burns half as long." Again, the new planet's gravity field does not supply any of the wheel's outputted energy / mass. The new planet's stronger gravity field does, however, double the rate at which that energy / mass can be extracted from the wheel's weights.

  11. TG,..If I can prevail on John to suffer me to digress,we really must consider mass,not as particles,but packets of wave-like energy.
    The greater the energy investment,the greater is the mass.
    They can move in this medium we called the ether which is totally friction-less.Some scientist even deny it exists because they cannot grab hold of it,weigh it,or measure it because it has to be compared to an ether-less void.
    The only way we can influence it is by using the electron which gives rise to electromagnetic waves.Even photons of light travel through it without losing their mass/energy.
    I believe that even the ether has the equivalent of mass and inertial tension.Without this property light could not exist to travel like waves.Compare the analogy of sound traveling in air.One cannot weigh air in air because all air weighs the same.You have to weigh air by comparing it to a vacuum.
    This cannot be done with the ether but the mass equivalent is there regardless of what scientists want to believe.

  12. @ Technoguy & Trevor

    This is all fascinating stuff guys; stuff that I slightly more than half understand; however I am only a poor and ignorant Artist approaching Bessler’s Clues from a completely different angle to you yourselves. If the words in APV55 and the images in MT do not accord with the actual workings of the mechanism; then there will be no Posthumous Recognition for Bessler: I think that he thought this rather important!
    May I remind you that we are looking for ‘a simple system of falling weights and levers’: and that John Collins in his original manuscript PMAAMS 1997 correctly devoted a whole chapter to ‘simplicity’?


  13. @ Trevor

    There was a famous experiment, the "Michelson–Morley Experiment", that was done in 1879 in order to detect the presence of the ether. That experiment concluded that the ether did NOT exist. You can read up on the details of the experiment here:

    I do agree, however, that at the subatomic level, the distinction between particles and waves can become somewhat blurry. Whether or not that blurriness extends down to the subsubatomic level of Newton's gravity particles is debatable. Remember, these particles would have no mass and therefore no energy. Without energy, one can not define a wavelength for them. They are truly ghostlike, but pervade our cosmos. Yet, small and insignificant as they might seem, they bind galaxies, stars, and planets together and provide a stage for life to evolve upon. I expect them to be one of the last physical entities that will be understood in detail by the particle physicists of this world.

  14. @ John Worton

    You wrote:

    "If the words in APV55 and the images in MT do not accord with the actual workings of the mechanism; then there will be no Posthumous Recognition for Bessler: I think that he thought this rather important!"

    Those words in APV55 and MT only HINT at what was going on in Bessler's wheels. For MT, Bessler tells us that we can only BEGIN to look for a PM by combining PARTS of the illustrations with a "discerning eye". Many newbie mobilists make the mistake of thinking that the configuration of weights, levers, and cords inside of Bessler's wheels will look EXACTLY like various illustration parts in MT. That is a BIG mistake to make and one that can waste a mobilist's limited resources of time, energy, money, and patience.

    If one really wants to determine what was going on in Bessler's wheels, I HIGHLY recommend that he concentrate EXCLUSIVELY on the clues given in the two DT portraits. Those along with a tremendous amount of building / modeling will eventually lead him to success. Those two portraits contain a carefully encrypted description of the mathematical relationships between the working parts in Bessler's wheels. Only when the components in a mobilist's wheel obey those relationships will he wind up with a working wheel and not one second earlier!

  15. @ Technoguy

    IF you are Right; then I am Wrong: I will have wasted 12 years of my life (six years part-time/ six years full-time) and £30,000 on ‘The Wrong Track’; as you define it.
    I am NOT a Newbie Mobilist. I say again that ‘those words in APV55’ and ‘the images in MT,’ are much more than ‘a HINT’ at the workings of Bessler’s Gravity Wheel: they describe real and recognisable PARTS of the machine.

    No recognition; No Posthumous Recognition.

    There are definitely no ‘Cords’ inside of Bessler’s Wheels.

    I may have made a BIG MISTAKE and so may YOU,

    Time will tell!


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Johann Bessler’s Maschinen Tractate

When Bessler, aka Orffyreus, died his after-death inventory included many papers stored in a box along with several wood ink blocks.  Among ...