Thursday, 7 February 2013

King Richard III and Johann Bessler - their graves.

I watched a documentary on TV the other night about the discovery of the remains of King Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet Kings of England.   The burial was discovered just over two feet beneath the surface of a car park in Leicester.  A DNA test was carried out on the bones and compared to a 17th generation descendant, Michael Ibsen, a Canadian-born carpenter living in London, and found to be a perfect match.

Now you can probably see where this is going!  Bessler is believed to have requested permission to construct a family grave in his own garden at his house in Karlshafen.  There are conflicting stories about what happened to his body after his fall from the windmill in Fursteberg.  Local people say his body was buried in a grave in the forest which was apparently traditional in those days. The forest is about two hours  walk away and is apparently full of graves, some of them very old and with writing which is all but illegible.  However given his preparations for his burial in the family grave, and the existence of his wife and children plus their strong religious convictions most peope share my belief that he was buried as he requested in the garden of his house.

We know which house he lived in and the small town has hardly altered since his day and a correspondent who lived locally at the time carried out some research for me and came to the conclusion that the garden behind Bessler's house is now a car park!

I'm sure that when the solution to Bessler's wheel is found the local authority in Karlshafen will sit up and take notice, because they were very interested at one time in publishing my biography in German to encourage tourism, but they were in financial straits at the time and decided against publication.  Anything which will bring tourists to this little place will be welcomed by the town council and there is an antiquarain bookshop, right next to Bessler's house, whose owners will probably be happy to help foot the bill to dig up the carpark.

The reason I think it will be useful to try to find Bessler's grave is because, to me it is inconceivable to think he would not have taken the opportunity a grave gave him to leave a message for us.  He specifically requested permission for a grave to be placed in his own garden, something that went counter to local tradition.  He left a million pieces of clues about his machine and his encoded messages were spread throughout his papers, he sought post humous recognition for his wheel and what better place to leave it than on his grave.

One more thing.  Bessler's brother Gottfried was also buried in the same grave in 1765, twenty years after Bessler.  So it must have existed in its own right for many years.




  1. Did he ever say he would leave his secret in his grave?

  2. No but he did say he didn't care in the end if no one bought his wheel he wouold be happy to receive acknowledgement after his death if necessary.


    1. No one is looking, or would look, for his grave given the circumstances. He didn't say he left his secret there; it's not certain where his grave is; and he did imply the secret is hidden in his books rather than his grave.
      There isn't any motive to look for it unless he said his secret was there; you could look in the wrong place if you tried; if you found it, any secrets would most likely be decayed and be of no use other than identification of his remains.
      Metals oxidize, woods rot. If you sampled his DNA you could prove it was him for sure through his descendants along with any decayed materials that could be there.

    2. I think the house might have more to tell than the grave.
      If the claim to fame for Fursteburg (or is it Karlshafen?) is Bessler's last resting place, the city might be persuaded to buy the house from the owners and then investigate it for evidence of hidden items, then turn it into a museum for tourism. If the carpark covers his grave, they might be able to detect it with metal detectors or sonar or other means without tearing up the whole thing; if they aren't in financial straits anymore, that is.

    3. Or not, no one is feeling the love for B's gravesite.

  3. John,if Bessler's death was an accident,that means he did not know when he was going to die.I'm surprised that he did not leave any form of a wheel behind.
    On the other hand,if he committed suicide,concidering his starvation and ill health,he would have made sure all his wheels were destroyed before he died,which is the case.

  4. Apparently after his death they found a small model wheel but it was in pieces and although I agree with you that he might have committed suicide, I think the wheel was probably kept in pieces anyway, but was capable of being assembled. It is possible that the actual mechanisms were kept separately too, or hidden elsewhere in the house, but accessible to him. I don't know what happened to the pieces of wheel.


  5. On second thoughts,I don't think he would have committed suicide because his religious code of conduct actually forbids it.
    I think because of his age and the realisation that he could die naturally at any time with a heart attack would have caused him to keep his wheels dismantled as a precaution.
    I'm 71 years old and I know the feeling.

  6. John - how interesting that a model of the wheel was found after Bessler's death. Is that information freely available?
    There is also an inventory on the internet which is in English, and therefore hardly the original, see here
    Do you know whether that is genuine? Or is it even something that you yourself made available?

  7. John,..I'm very happy with the way your blog has turn out.
    It is now much more focussed on the priorities of the wheel with input from intelligent people with one thing in mind,..the solution of the wheel.

  8. I was unable to access that link, unfortunately Mimi. I got 'error 404 object not found'. You can read the inventory here,Besslerwheel forum

    And here is the list:

    1. English astronomical telescope, 20 feet, for use in half or whole, day or night, has brass screws, 2 objective and 4 ocular lenses.
    2. Astronomical telescope or 8 feet in white vellum.
    3. Astronomical telescope in green casing, 6 feet.
    4. Large brass globe and two small brass globes. There are no markings on them [or "There are no diagrams of them."]. There are only the spheres themselves.
    5. Three small Nuremberg spheres.
    6. Large quadrant of 17 feet.
    7. Small quadrant for the previous one.
    8. Stands for astronomical telescopes.
    9. Optical grinding mill with accessories.
    10. Nocturnal lamp clock with two glasses.
    11. Camera obscura out of the window.
    12. Portable camera obscura.
    13. Large concave burning glass, diameter 14 inches, in a frame.
    14. Good microscope with objective lenses.
    15. Optical theatre with various views and accessories.
    16. Several barometers, and several lamps.
    17. A wind measuring device and a weather measuring device.
    18. Spirit level of special invention.
    19. Schnellwage *, rather large.
    20. Small Schnellwage, with brass balls.
    21. Two fine magnetic stones.
    22. Compass for mine surveying.
    23. In addition, 2 divining rods.
    24. Several marvellous magnetic needles, 2 of which are quite large and accurate.
    25. Megaphone, Cochlea acustica [literally, "acoustic snail"]
    26. One bird of paradise.
    27. Large coconut and starfish.
    28. Glass balls for weather table.
    29. Curious, lovely marble egg.
    30. Curious wine tap with gears; the end can be adjusted; has a domestic indicator for it.
    31. Curious pedometer with gears.
    32. 48 iron gears for the water machine.
    33. Two steel rolling plates for pressing, also for printing copperplates.
    34. Large, powerful positive organ with 12 registers: 4 of them mute, large Gedackt 8 feet, principle 4 feet.
    35. Carillon, large, with 35 bells, and a bench with keyboard and automatic shaft, but is not finished.
    36. Table carillon with English bells, keyboard and two shafts, driven by a bellows, also not finished.
    37. High carillon, powerful, automatically plays entire songs, also not finished.
    38. High carillon with a special name, thus an invention, automatically plays hundreds of songs, is not at all finished and is lacking the bells.
    39. Large carillon with large, thick cylinder, plays the Te Deum Laudamus. Only the cylinder is on hand.
    40. Large, long shaft for the large carillon, 2 more of the same shafts.
    41. A box full of woodcuts for the Great Treatise.

    Specification - original manuscripts from Orffyreus? literary estate:

    1. 219 pieces: printed sketches for wood engravings.
    2. Princely rescript, in which Orffyreus is appointed Commercien Rath, dated Cassell, August 15, 1716.
    3. Princely contract with Rath Orffyreus regarding his perpetual motion machine, from the year 1716.
    4. Princely testimonial that Rath Orffyreus' perpetual motion machine is genuine, dated Cassell, May 27, 1718.

    * Literally "quick balance", it is a "balance for quick weighing, usually a balance with unequal beams and only one weight. Either the weight or the object to be weighed is displaced." [J. and G. Grimm]

    You will notice that there is no mention of the wheel in pieces, and I can only assume that it was taken by someone, soon after Bessler's death was reported. His widow is said to have given all his possessions to the local magistrate but there is no documentar proof, just gossip.


    1. Thanks John, that's exactly the list that was on the mentioned link. It still is curious that the list is in English - there would have surely been a German list originally.

    2. Yes I have a copy of the original German list Mimi. I'll see if I copy it to here. It is handwritten and virtually illegible!


  9. I'm pleased with the blog too, Trevor, although it seems mighty quiet! But the number of page views is the same, so I'm content for now.


  10. It will accelerate as the ideas start comming forth.
    It only takes one new approach to trigger the flow.

  11. OK, I've found the inventory which is spread over 5 pages. I'm just tryin g to work out the best way to show it to you. As I said, it is pretty illegible but I'll leave it to you to decide what it says. There is a bit more than is shown in the English translations. Where it says at the bottom, 'Specification - original manuscripts from Orffyreus literary estate,' only 4 items are shown, but actually the numbered items continue onwards to 11.


  12. Well I wasn't able to post the original drawings here so I'ver added them to my which I use for occasional miscellany. The link follows. My own copies are a bit clearer than the ones I've posted but the files were too big as they were, so I've had to reduce them somewhat. I may upload them at some point if there is any interest so that you can download larger files.

    Bessler's after death inventory


    1. John, thank you for posting the inventory. It is indeed very difficult to read - all the more do I appreciate your tremendous work in researching and translating Bessler's work.

  13. With referance to the mechanics John,..I firmly believe that in the wheel there is no lifting as such but it is all about movement.
    One of the most important clues is on the clues page at the top there is a paragraph but only the second half of it.
    If you read it carefully it holds a clue to the mechanism.

  14. I would like to deviate from the topic at hand for a moment. We continue to hear that a wheel would never be allowed because of the disastrous affects it would have on world economies. Well I live in the US where 70% of the economy is driven by consumer spending. It would seem to make sense that if you didn't have to pay for heating, cooling, lighting, and all other electrical usage, you would have a lot more money in your pocket to spend. The number of people directly employed by coal, oil, and nuclear can't be a significant number. I think we all have to ask if what we are doing is for the greater good, or for the good of ourselves. My guess is the only people to really be affected by a switch to gravity/motion powered wheels are the fat cats raking in the billions and billions of dollars of profits. I would appreciate any comments on this.

    1. Coal and oil is not sustainable , nuclear is not safe . I have heard the economies are melting .
      I am working on building an earthen oven , i am making it from subsoil and sand , i will burn sticks in it and then when its hot enough i can cook food in it like bread and pizzas , i cannot afford electricity for cooking , it costs too much to use the electric oven , if everyone done this , cooked their food from burning sticks they can get from forests , would it be disastrous on the world economies !

    2. Don't worry the world would adjust itself.

    3. Ealadha,

      I like the oven idea. Have you thought of making a distiller? I am. You can make safe drinking water from just about any water source. Good knowledge to have in case you really need it.

    4. I will look into making a distiller . I have most of the materials for the earth oven and i will build it soon . I am getting into a macrobiotic organic diet and thats the reason i am building the earth oven , to cook some of that type of food .

    5. Ealadha,

      if you can get your hands on enough wood, check out the FEMA plans for a wood
      gassifier, you can run a generator on the wood gas it produces.
      It's all made from oil drums etc. and not too difficult.

      Stephen Burke

  15. Why would it be disastrous on the economy? It wasn't disastrous in 1717, except for B and K.?

  16. I was just looking around the internet and came across this looks like someones beaten us to it

    1. Amazing... no reviews to be found, just many small ads with the same message: cheap constant energy from gravity...

    2. Now,now Mimi,why the caution,..although it does look suspicious.
      Have you checked out the returns option? They reserve the right to refund your money depending on where the generator is located.
      It just has to be a wind generator with a battery back up power,or hydro-electric power from a river.

    3. It does say money back if your not happy with it, but i think if you paid them you would never see your money again

    4. It's probably water driven of a river or even the household water usage.
      These are natural and gravity drven.

    5. up to 10kW would hardly be possible just from household water usage. This thing apparently has it's own storage (battery) and transformer, yet it can be lifted into a car or van. Sounds too good to be true (though I would love it to be true, of course). And yes, the money back thing, pay in installments etc. sounds nice, but still you would be coughing up several hundred GBpounds minimum, which you might never see again. The web site itself looks very tacky, too.

    6. Are you taking into account the pressure of the water which does vary from place to place,hence the stipulation?

    7. Social Electrics
      2, Sacombs Lane
      Allens Green
      Essex. CM21 OLU

      Buy now pay later ... all you have to do is enter your bank information and in 2 days they will contact you (from the Bahamas) to arrange delivery.

    8. Watch out,that could be a Nigerian money scam.
      Don't ever give your bank details to anybody.

  17. The way it works is if you wrap a rope around the axle and then pull the rope the wheel will spin .

    1. If you put a weight on the end of the rope , you would not have to pull the rope to make the wheel spin because gravity will pull the weight downwards ,causing the wheel to spin !

  18. In other news, hydrogen fuel cell cars will be available in 2015.
    Charge in a few minutes with a 250 mile range.

    1. At last!some constructive input,but I can't say the same for your transient name.


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