Monday, 16 April 2012

Bessler's wheels, out-of-balance and set to spin spontaneously.

There's been some talk about whether Bessler's wheel was out of balance and if it was balanced when stationary.  It seems obvious to me that because the first two one-way wheels began to spin spontaneously as soon as the brake was released it must have been out of balance while stationary and it was only the brake or lock or ties which held it motionless. 

I ignore suggestions that the wheel was stopped at an opportune moment so that at that point it was out-of-balance.  It would be too difficult to arrange for those who tested it to stop it at that particular spot - if there was one.  And anyway many people commented on the evenness of its rotation and any unevenness would indicate flat spots and high spots which would be suitable for stopping in an unbalanced position.

If you suspend an object from any point, let go of it and allow it to come to rest, the centre of gravity will lie along a vertical line that passes through the point of suspension. The centre of gravity will generally lie below the suspension point.

So if we wish to make the overbalanced wheel continue to turn, then we have to find a way of raising that point which generally lies below the suspension point. 



  1. This is exactly what I try all the time, to have the center of mass not below the suspension. The big question that puzzles me since a long time is, could it be possible to have an arrangement of weights, levers and strings on one axle that does not center while the axle can turned around. I have lots of mechanisms that try to achieve this and might work in theory but so far I was not able to construct a working one.

  2. John,..If it was not balanced to start with,how could they start the latter wheels easily with just two fingers?
    I am saying that while it was turning,it was out of balance,that is why it was difficult to stop.
    On the other hand when it was at rest,it was balanced and not even keel heavy,otherwise it would not have started so easily.

  3. Trevor, the first two wheels only turned one way and started spontaneously. The later ones could turn in either direction and needed a push to start them. Hence the first ones were unbalanced and the later ones were balanced by their opposing unbalanced systems.


  4. I think that idea of lifting the weight up from the bottom of the wheel comes from Wagner , not Bessler .

  5. But we don't know for sure that the last two wheels worked the same way as the first two; that their bidirectional property is why they were balanced.
    They could have worked in both directions from one set of parts that had the ability to reverse.

  6. PART I

    Doug wrote:

    "They [the two-directional wheels] could have worked in both directions from one set of parts that had the ability to reverse."

    I think that's unlikely. It took Bessler ten years of agonizing effort to come up with the one-directional wheel he demonstrated in 1712. Yet, your suggestion would have us believe that between the time of the destruction of the one-directional Drashwitz wheel in 1714 and the appearance of the TWO-directional Merseburg wheel in 1715, a period of only about a year, he managed to produce ANOTHER completely DIFFERENT PM Gravity wheel design that was capable of bi-directionality from a single set of internal mechanics?! Unlikely!

    The clue that he merely put two "parallel" counterpoised one-directional wheels in both the Merseburg and Weissenstein wheels is indicated by their sudden nearly doubling in thickness relative to their diameters as compared to the thickness to diameter proportions of his earlier one-directional wheels.

    However, in thinking the matter over, it did occur to me that one could, indeed, also make a "thin" wheel which was bi-directional by using one-directions sub wheels in another way. It would look like the one in MT 11 where the two sub wheels are "concentric" AND "coplanar". However, there are several annoying problems that arise with this approach.

    If one uses the SAME mass weights in both sub wheels, then the power output of the drum, when being driven by the eccentric CoM of the smaller inner sub wheel will be much less than that of the drum when it is driven by the eccentric CoM of the larger outer sub wheel. In addition, the drum, when stationary, will want to rotate in the preferred direction of the outer sub wheel due to its greater torque than that of the inner sub wheel. In fact, one will have to manually rotate the drum through a complete rotation in the preferred direction of the small inner sub wheel in order to lock up all of the larger outer sub wheel's weighted levers (thus forcing it to undergo retrograde rotation) so that the small inner sub wheel's lower torque can then finally drive the drum.

  7. PART II

    MT 11 shows the maximum radius of the inner sub wheel as being about 1/2 of the maximum radius of the outer sub wheel. Based on the schematics I am seeing, one would actually have to make the maximum radius of the inner sub wheel no larger than about 1/3 of the maximum radius of the outer sub wheel in order to prevent the inner sub wheel's weighted levers from interferring with the various interconnecting cords between the outer sub wheel's weighted levers. That means if the outer sub wheel was 6 feet in radius or 12 feet in diameter, then the inner sub wheel could not be more than 2 feet in radius or 4 feet in diameter.

    There are, of course, ways to compensate for these issues. For example, if the masses of the inner sub wheel's 8 weights are made 9 times as great as those of the outer sub wheel, then this thin two-directional wheel will have the same power output in both directions and, most importantly, will remain stationary unless given a push in either direction. Thus, if one's outer sub wheel used 4 lb weights, then his inner sub wheel's weights would have to be 36 lbs each! I'm not sure, however, if this type of thin two-directional wheel would have the same maximum terminal rotation rates in both directions.

    With all of these problems, it becomes obvious why Bessler decided to place two counter poised one-directional wheels side by side or parallel within a drum. That is the simplest approach which immediately gives the same power output and maximum terminal rotation rates in BOTH directions and allows the drum to be stationary unless given a gentle push in either direction to start it turning. He probably hoped nobody would notice this detail. But, I'm sure this was quite obvious to his fellow mobilists who were trying to "reverse engineer" his wheels.

    Since I see no major advantages to Bessler's two-directional wheels, I confine myself to solving the secrets of his one-directional wheels. Once that is done, it will be child's play to construct a two-directional wheel from them. However, one undeniable minor benefit of the two-directional wheel is that one does not have to constantly worry about it starting up in one's absence should its tether or brake fail and then running and running until it finally experiences a critical internal part or lubrication failure!

  8. It isn't any more unlikely than your theory. No one, including yourself, Trevor, Chris, John, (sorry, John, you know me) etc., knows how any of the wheels worked, other than the fact that they couldn't have operated outside the laws of physics. In other words, we only know what they weren't, how they didn't operate. They weren't perpetual motion. They weren't overunity engines. They weren't overbalancing, gravity activated, CF powered, swinging weights with 64 catgut cords in a pentagonal pattern and some-springs-throw-in-for-good-measure, wheels. Sorry, you are on the "crazy train" track.

  9. I refuse to believe there were two sets of mechanisms to accommodate a two directional wheel,there just is no space!
    Think about it,if it was an over-balancing gravity wheel it will fall to the left or to the right determined by its momentum when it was started.
    A symmetrical mechanism is what we should be looking at.

  10. @ Doug

    I can forgive your outburst (yet again!) because you, a "no tracker", do not yet have access to the same information that I, a "right tracker", have. IF you did, then you would quickly retract your last comment! I do, however, agree with your observation that Bessler's wheels weren't CF powered. As to their being "overbalanced", I covered all of that in my comments to the previous blog.

    Were they perpetual motion? That depends upon one's definition of the term "perpetual motion". If by it one means that, untouched, one of his wheels would continue to run flawlessly FOREVER, then, NO, they were NOT PM. If by it one means that one of his wheels would continue to run flawlessly as long as it received routine maintenance and occasional changes of all of the lead weights it contained, then, YES, it could be considered to be PM. I use this term to refer to Bessler's wheels because of its popular usage down through the centuries. But, I certainly don't think his wheels were tapping any vague "outside" sources of "environmental energy" or violating the First Law of Thermodynamics by creating energy / mass out of thin air. Now those kinds of beliefs would DEFINITELY be "wrong track" types!

    My latest design calls for a total of 48 interconnecting cords per one-directional wheel all of which do not rub against and fray each other because they are VERY carefully arranged into separate parallel layers that span the thickness of a drum. This means that a two-directional wheel with TWO separate, but parallel, one-directional wheels will contain a total of 96 cords! Such is the price that must be paid to achieve the "Holy Grail of Mechanics". If Bessler had been involved in the repair of various stringed instruments such as the harpsicord or then newly invented piano, he would not have been perturbed by this requirement for such a large "cord count" in his wheels. Now that I'm working with designs containing these numbers of cords, I find that I am getting used to them. The key to working with them is to use colored cords so you can keep track of them all.

    @ Trevor

    Don't forget that the one-directional Gera wheel's INTERIOR drum width could have been LESS than TWO INCHES! If it had been a two-directional wheel containing two parallel one-directional sub wheels, then its drum could have been less than six inches in thickness as measured on the outside.

    You, too, need to reread my comment in the last blog entry. Yes, I agree that a TWO-directional wheel needs to be HORIZONTALLY symmetrical and placing TWO identical, seperate, parallel, but COUNTER POISED ONE-directional wheels on the same axle DOES achieve this kind of symmetry.

  11. What!..96 cords?! Now you are going from the sublime to the ridiculous.Believe me when you to close the loop between the loaded and unloaded weights,you are going to find you have a conflict.
    No wheel could work reliably with such a complicated arrangement,never mind do any work!
    Doug I do understand where you are coming from.If you are thinking within the confines of the laws of physics,I agree,because its something I myself have to guard against.
    The design of this wheel requires one to think out the box.

  12. @ Ken:
    My outburst? Yes, that sounded like an outburst. Sheesh.

    You are on the "crazy train" track (apologies to Ozzie Osbourne), because:
    The wheels were not Perpetual Motion. Perpetual Motion, in the geometry of our universe, is impossible at any scale, much less at a macroscopic scale. The first three turned for 30 minute demonstrations, if I'm not mistaken. That's not very perpetual, the energy to do that could have been stored inside them as Wagner said. To respond to Wagner's challenge, the last one allegedly turned for 54 days. The period following that should have led to some kind of successful business arrangement. The fact that it didn't is highly suspicious and only points to an alliance between the count and bessler to protect both of their names. To further protect their names, all the evidence was destroyed, unless you count what was left behind as evidence, I don't, it's simply a compendium of the futile search for perpetual motion. I'm sorry, but if we rule out stored internal energy for the first 3 wheels and an external source of energy for the last wheel, as you do, that's the only option left.

    Good luck with your new 48 cord design. It sounds like your levers have sprouted more arms.

    @ Trevor,
    The "box" we are required to think outside of is nature. The laws only convert nature into a universal mathematical language.
    F=G x m1m2/r^2
    Nature. The geometry of the universe. The way things are and can't be changed; can't be bent or broken, is the box. That's a big box. It's not a confining box, it's a box bigger than you can imagine, really.

  13. I put it to you John that the reason why the first two wheels started on their own is because they had weights that would latch up when primed.This made them top heavy so of course they would start as soon they were released.
    You might be pleased to know that the wheel does work using gravity alone, so there you will be proved right.

  14. Doug I have said this to you before,the wheel's perpetual motion does not break the laws of physics.
    If you must know,it simply uses the trick of balance.

  15. I understand what you say Trevor, and you may be right, but I have an alternative theory which will be proved or disproved soon.


  16. Doug ,
    If people want to waste their time ( or not ) searching for a perpetual motion what is it to you ? Those who assume that there is nothing to be learned from pondering such things are simply wrong . I could silence the sternest skeptic if I chose to because I have learned a thing or three. Your only way for you to settle this affair is to decide that Bessler was fraudulent instead of doing the homework ( which I have gladly done ) which is necessary to reach a different conclusion .
    Bessler warned that although the principle was simple the preparations necessary to arrive at it were immense . So don't be so complacent in your parroting of what is after all an all to common opinion .

  17. @ Chris
    You're right, it isn't anything to me if anyone wastes their time.
    Silence away, Give me your best shot.

    Trevor, balancing something is not a trick.

  18. It's so funny that people expect you to publish what you know just because they imply it . That is just silly . If there is a secret and I have knowledge of it what makes you think I would expose it to impress you ? A teacher tries to teach although his authority might not be accepted by his students .

  19. That's because you have nothing to expose.

  20. That is funny . More like you have no idea what you are saying .

  21. In the introduction of Bessler's book " Apologia Poetica " he says:
    "Almost from the beginning of time people sought the secret of
    perpetual motion.
    Much time has been spent in vain trying to produce it, but Nature
    has now magnanimously sent it into the world. The facts about all
    this are only partly known. What is known is that throughout
    history in nearly every country a Primum Mobile was thought to
    have been achieved, but evil acts of sin and shame caused the
    truth to remain unknown. Because evil tongues blew the vessel
    of truth so sadly astray, I feel forced to write this book, so that all
    who read it carefully will end up wiser than they began. "
    Who (or what type of personage ) do you suppose Bessler is referring to ?

  22. See what I mean? You have nothing to expose.

  23. You must be right ... that is the only reason I am not trying to impress you . There is nothing to learn . YOU KNOW EVERYTHING ! You are now one with the devine .

  24. I do know that you don't know how Bessler's wheels worked either, so don't worry, I'm not impressed.

  25. Okay guys, let's settle this with a working wheel.

  26. I agree , contrary to popular opinion . But I also find that a little peer input can be stimulating when one has become stagnant . Others bad intent can be useful . So there is no harm done . The skeptic has his place in the scheme of things .
    I even dare to say that Bessler himself probably used his enemies thrusts to his own benefit, furthering his efforts .

  27. Chris, nothing bad is intended in my posts. If this was a card game, what you and trevor are doing is bluffing. I'm just calling your bluff, that's all. Nothing personal.
    To extend the metaphor, Ken has shown his hand, so he needs to fold. John is passing , waiting to up the ante, understandably, to make the pot bigger.

    So take up the perpetual gauntlet, and good luck.

  28. No, you're just the devil's advocate de jure. There is no such thing as calling a bluff if there's no bluff to call . Look man , I learned a lot of things to get where I am with this . Guys like you who have really no idea what they are talking about and go around taking stabs at people in one way or another are a dime a dozen . It's nothing new . What is your purpose ? The thing with John waiting 'til June 6th is no sweat off my @$$ . I think he will know whether his design is going to work before then though . I will probably have my wheel built before then and it will not be so attractive for me to present it to John after it's built . The whole reason I want John to see my design is so that he can vouch for the inheritance of it , from Bessler to me . If it's already built by then there is no reason to show it to anyone . You are watching , I get it . But you don't know everything so quit acting like you do .

  29. Two days ago, you admitted you didn't have a running wheel. I'm sorry, I know it must be frustrating.

    A devil's advocate (du jour) is someone who argues a position they don't necessarily agree with, for the sake of the argument, making assumptions to explore the implications. I agree with my position, and I'm not making any assumptions.

    My purpose is the same as yours, to unravel the bessler legend.

    1. Doug Apr 17, 2012 09:46 AM

      See what I mean? You have nothing to expose.

      Chat with someone else friend . You blew it already with me .

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. This is reminiscent of Bessler's quarrel with his detractors.
    Do we have to get so personal?
    Let us encourage one another.

  32. Trevor wrote:

    "What!..96 cords?! Now you are going from the sublime to the ridiculous. Believe me when you to close the loop between the loaded and unloaded weights,you are going to find you have a conflict."

    Doug wrote:

    "Good luck with your new 48 cord design. It sounds like your levers have sprouted more arms."

    Your reactions are quite understandable, gentlemen. When I first realized exactly what the "Connectedness Principle" required, my thoughts were not much different. Yet, my VERY careful analysis over the course of the last several years or so finally showed me that, for a one-direcional wheel with 8 weighted levers, the minimum number of interconnecting cords is 48. There is no way of getting around this requirement. One nice thing, however, is that these cords are mainly confined to the outer portions of the drum and none are near the axle and, as I've previously stated, they are neatly arranged into separate, parallel "layers" so that no two cords make contact with each other. If that were allowed to happen, then the result would be constant rubbing and fraying of the cords which would quickly cause the wheel to malfunction and stop running.

    These cords are ABSOLUTELY necessary because, aside from transferring energy / mass between the weighted levers, they serve the CRITICAL function of "coordinating" the levers as they are swept along by the drum and revolve around the axle. Without them, the wheel would not be able to maintain the CoM of its eight weights on the drum's descending side during rotation. They are to Bessler's wheels what the timing chain is to an internal combustion engine. Without that chain, the valves on the cylinders will not be coordinated and the engine will not run. In a similar sense, without the cords, Bessler's wheels can NOT work! Again, I must admonish those who wish to get on and stay on the "right track" that they MUST be using BOTH interconnecting cords AND springs in their designs. Without this commitment in your designs, you will have ZERO chance of success...EVER!

    As you've correctly surmised, the "magic levers" that Bessler used were not that simple in structure. No, indeed, they are VERY specially shaped and work perfectly in harmony with the interconnecting cords to create the effect of PM. In Bessler's wheels, for any particular drum rotation rate, the CoM of the active weights would remain quite fixed in space on the drum's descending side. Thus, there was no "rippling" of the torque and power produced by the drum (which, if there was such variation, would have occured at a rate of eight pulses per drum rotation). Bessler's wheels were a true tribute to what the inventive capabilities of the human mind can achieve when it is pushed to its ultimate limit.

    OF COURSE, the energy that the wheels outputted was stored INSIDE of the wheels. It was contained IN the weights themselves. The beauty of a WORKING, gravity activated, OB wheel is that it can slowly drain off the energy / mass of its weights in order to accelerate the wheel or perform outside work continuously (barring any critical parts failures, of course).

    Reading the exchanges between you and Chris Wilson gave me a "deja vu" feeling "all over again"! LOL!

    1. You have miscalculated ...... you really need 192 cords. Each cord requires a second cord so that you can make an interconnection with the right track.

  33. “ A Prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly” (Proverbs 12:23) Don't refer to me by my first and last name if you don't mind .

  34. Forgiveness,but you are full of shit.

  35. TG,..I can't help feeling you are going to end up with a little less than unity out.
    You will have learn your own lessons if you are not convinced,but all the best to you.
    I wonder what John's concept is.I am reticent to come with a working wheel until I know he has definitely thrown in the towel.

  36. Thanks, Trevor.

    I feel that I am getting a bit closer to the end of that "right track" with each passing day, but I'm not as close to it as some. For example, while I have most of the details of the Connectedness Principle (when you finally have it, you will see a glorious pentagram emerge from among your cords!), I do not yet have all of the details of the "magic levers"...just most of them. I also do not have the "Secret Principle" yet which involves the manner in which Bessler used spring tension to turn what would ordinarily be just another "non-runner" into a "runner". It is actually the most important of his principles and the most difficult to obtain. I continue to work on it.

    Yes, I also look forward to seeing what JC has to offer. I'm hoping he will be able to shed some more light on the various DT portrait clues which have become my "specialty". The more ACCURATE the interpretations one has of those portraits' symbols, the farther down the "right track" to a solution he will be! ALL true "right trackers" ultimately become TOTALLY obsessed with those portraits!

    Whether JC finally has found THE solution or not, the fact is that his diligent efforts have helped to create a heightened sense of expectation and excitement for all of us as the days slip by between now and June 6th. Yeah, we'll probably all be disappointed again, but until then we can dream! As someone once said, "Life is a journey, not a destination". But, then again, finally having THE solution would really be nice...

  37. I think John is on holiday again,but he can read this when he returns and give me his considered opinion.
    I would like to express what I think the Apologia wheel is saying.Think about this.
    It very likely could represent the cycles that occur in the wheel,for one set of weights.If you can imagine the wheel turning clockwise;
    The first segment from six to ten represents the buying period.
    The next segment from ten to two represents the loading period.
    The last segment from two to six represents the power period.
    Now if you add the other three sets to make four,all the power periods will overlap to give a continuous smooth output.
    What do you think of that?

  38. I'm still here and still busy. I don't often comment on comments as I don't want to add to what I've said, so if I seem quiet it's not because I'm away or not interested.


  39. In response to your comment about the Apologia wheel, Trevor, I would point you to my remarks at for my own ideas.


  40. Interesting suggestion, Trevor.

    Yes, the "Apolgia Wheel" can certain be a challenge to interpret. Here's my take on it:

    One examiner of the Drashwitz wheel wrote "The axle is also wooden, and extends one foot beyond the wheel. It has three teeth which are for moving three wooden stamps similar to those used in pounding mills. The stamps are quite heavy and are lifted and dropped continuously."

    I find it very interesting that the axle of the Merseburg wheel was studded with 8 pegs (arranged in pairs each of whose two pegs were 180 degrees apart from each other) for lifting and dropping FOUR wooden stamps TWICE each per axle rotation, but the previous Drashwitz wheel only had 3 pegs for moving THREE wooden stamps ONCE each per axle rotation.

    This suggests to me that the Drashwitz wheel may only have needed 3 levers instead of the 8 found in the later two-directional wheels! In that case the larger black sectors of the AP wheel might represent sectors of drum rotation where the levers are shifting about or are stationary with their weights against their rim stops. The narrower white sectors might then represent regions where the weights are in the process of undergoing the greatest rate of change in their states of motion.

    For a CW rotating, one-directional wheel, moving CW from its 6:00 position to about 10:00, each ascending side lever weight swings CCW away from its rim stop and draws closer to the axle. At 10:00 the weighted levers suddenly reverse direction and swing CW as their weights begin climbing back toward their rim stops again. Thus, from 10:00 to 2:00 the lever weights gradually draw closer to their rim stops and finally make contact with them at 2:00. From 2:00 back down to 6:00 again, the weights remain in contact with their rim stops.
    Interestingly, IF a three lever wheel is possible, it should only require a 6 interconnecting ropes and, perhaps another three to supply spring tension to each lever. That makes a total of only 9 cords!

    So, why not just keep making the simpler three weighted lever wheels instead of the more technically complicated 8 weighted levers per sub wheel of the Merseburg and Weissenstein wheels with each of those sub wheels requiring 48 cords? I think the answer is because an 8 weighted lever wheel or sub wheel will, for the same drum diameter and lever length, have 2.666 times as much power output and will have an output that is more stable than might be achieved with only three levers.

    If the shifting of the weighted levers within a 3 lever wheel is not uniform, but takes place mainly in the white sectors, then the CoM of the three weights will not remain fixed in space on the drum's descending side, but, rather, will rotate toward and then away from the punctum quietus three times per drum rotation. The three pegs on the Drashwitz wheel's axle were probably very carefully positioned so that they would be lifting the stamps when the CoM of the drum's three weights was located as far from the punctum quietus as possible and thus providing maximum torque to the axle.


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