Friday, 1 February 2013

Another Bessler clue.

In Johann Bessler's Das Triumphirende (DT), he included a number of drawings, showing the external views of the wheels he built. Also he copied a cartoon published by one of his enemies, Borlach, commenting that 'they caused many copies of [this] scurrilous copper-engraving to be spread far and wide – quite contrary to all the admirable local laws against defamation of character'. And he copied, mockingly, a illustration of Christian Wagners's bratenwender, or roasting jack.

The first one depicting his wheel, shows the Merseburg wheel, complete with the mysterious pendulums whose appearance was not recorded by any of the witnesses.  The following four pages includes an explanation of the numbered parts shown in the diagram, in both Latin and German.

Immediately following this is the explanation of the lettered parts, also in both Latin and German, of the next diagram which shows the Weissenstein Castle wheel at Hesse Kassel.

There then follows a kind of double drawing of two views of the wheel, but instead of providing a list explaining the numbering of the various parts in the drawing, either in the preceeding pages or those following, Bessler has attached an explanatory list to the bottom of each half of the two drawing. The left one in German, the right in Latin..Those who have copies of the book DT, may not be aware of this oddity and I myself, attached no importance to it until a while back, I began to wonder if it was deliberate.  Why didn't he just put the list of parts on the following pages?  No reason that I could see.  The result is a complicated system of folded papers which get crumpled and torn when used too frequently, with each bottom part containing the list, folded upwards and tucked in between the two pages.  They are separated from each other in the lower portion but joined together where the illustrations are bound into the book..  There was no need for such a complicated arrangement..

This double drawing has been discussed at length on the besslerwheel forum but the discussion centred on the apparent intention of the inventor, to draw attention to the two wheels shown, by slicing off the right edge in a way that suggested the two drawing should be merged, or at least pulled together in some way.  Upon reflection I consdered the possibility that it was the two lists attached underneath, that were to be considered together in some way.

The presence of the triangular padlock which was used a datum point for a 72 degree line in the Merseburg drawing (5 x 72 = 360 degrees) should make us suspicious of its presence in the left hand drawing in this case.  As a piece of speculation I have lined up the 'W' of Weissenstein, as Bessler's favourite fraktur version of the letter, a pair of overlapping 'V's, with another of his favourite Latin characters, the letter 'M' in the list below (a single 'V' between two uprights) and note how the padlock aligns perfectly.

Notice that although there are other letter 'M's in the list, a line drawn from the exact centre of  the 'W' in Weissenstein and drawn through the exact centreof the point on the padlock, aligns perfectly with the centre of  just this 'M' and with one of its two sloping lines within its centre.

That letter 'M's is also a datum point and a carefully drawn line from it to a certain corner, plus another from the 'W' of Weissenstein, will reveal angles of 36, 54 and 72 degrees - those of the pentagram.   There is more of course but I leave it to your imaginations.  :).




  1. John ,..Do you have a translation of the Latin and German lists?

    1. There is a full Engliush translation in my copy of DT, availale from my web site at

      But for you here and now, it says;

      1. A view of the whole wheel or perpetual mobile.
      2. Around the transmission shaft is would a rope.
      3. The path of the rope runs under a little wheel.
      4. The rope goes through the existing window.
      5. The rope passes over a small wheel.
      6. The box of stones is drawn upwards.
      7. The bolt, when the machine is not running.
      8. The pendulum, on the end of which are three weights.
      9. Mechanism that gives movement to the pendulum.
      10. Above and beneath open to view, so that the machine can be freestanding and run in a different position.


  2. The left wheel shows no visible means of support , ie no uprights. If the pic is rotated 90 deg's then the cut off portion would be a flat base to sit on and the uprights are not needed (also the shading is then vertical as is the right hand drawing) significant?

  3. Well spotted Jon. There is more.


  4. John,..It looks as if the pendulum is there just to synchronise or limit the speed of the unloaded wheel.

  5. Obviously the top two ball weights 8&8 are there just to reduce the frequency of swing in step with the ideal revolution of the wheel.

  6. The pendulums have been discussed a fair bit before. They are not recorded as ever being seen on one of his wheels, they are only drawn and refered to the once. They are a clue not an actual physical installation.Just my opinion.

  7. As I have decoded this page myself, (and confident with my resault), the first thing that I noticed about your picture is that the left and right side must be closer than intended/deviced by Bessler. For example it is not space for the complete word "Perpetuo" in the midle, top. your drawing spells "Perpetu" thus some space is missing, and any geometric linkage between the left and right side must then be wrong!? Keep it up, you are on to something. My research shows that this W actually meets/fits another M.. And Bessler did this mainly to show the coding technique. When you fully understand it, you will among other tings see 5 identical BIG Vs in that picture. The same technique may be applied to the original MT55 and both the Kassel and Merseburg drawing, but then showing the actual physical mechanism. The 5 BIG Vs is to show the reader that it is completely understood. The 5 Vs also appears another place... Any more details may only (maybe) disclosed in private communication.. Good luck!

  8. Thanks, Oystein, I did the picture for the blog quickly, and with not enough care, but the alignment is still the same even if the end of Perpetuo is missed off. The reason is that the drawings have warped slightly but you can adjust this in paint or paintshp.

    I'm aware of the other figures obtainable from this illustration but I must have a converstaion with you sometime to see if we are on the same page.


  9. It is such a fine line; the difference between discovery due to having a mind preset by what one is already looking for, and the Eureka moment when the true meaning is realized through confirmation by complementary clues. I'm certain that the reward nullifies the frustration of all the hours on end spent examining clues from every angle.

    I wonder if Bessler's fixation with 'five' extends to the number of key clues that outlines the mechanism and the principle of the machine's "prime mover" that has perplexed everyone for so long. Once it's understood how that handful of main clues are interrelated, it certainly would make it obvious which of the remaining plethora of clues have any meaning at all.
    Although, at this point in time, I believe [with all confidence] that it takes at least three.

    I wonder how many of us no longer fall into the category defined by, "and do you still not understand?"

    John and Oystein, I thank you for your intriguing comments. It makes me want to take advantage of the temporarily milder weather and get back out into the workshop.

  10. And, since I'm already here and signed on to my google account...

    Thanks also, John, for requiring a log-in in order to post. It sure makes reading the comments section more enjoyable.

    On the other hand, I suppose it could be said that most clowns have a fundamental knowledge of how to jump through hoops - lol.

  11. There are a lot of clues that refer to 5. There might be 555 clues pertaining to 5.
    So 5 means something to Orffyre.
    Could 5 be a code breaker number?

  12. Maybe even a ratio related to mechanical physics?

  13. The strange thing is that we know unloaded rotation rate of the wheels. This means that the pendulum is not needed to regulate the rotational speed. That is weird.

  14. Maybe 5 means every 5th letter somewhere or leave every 5th out. Darn code, no one will ever figure it out. The pendulum is good advertising.

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