Thursday 25 July 2013

Johann Bessler's small world of paragrams and chronograms.

It was while seeking for corroborative evidence that Bessler's MT 137 was derived from David Heinichen's circle of fifths (see my page at ) that I found a thesis describing how JS Bach, a friend and colleague of Heinichen, had included in his works a system known as alphanumerics; the subject of numerology and the old Hebrew system of Gematria involved the use of similar alphanumeric manipulation ..and of course so did Johann Bessler.

In 1947 Friedrich Smend, published the first of four studies in which he presented his theory that Johann Sebastian Bach had used a alphanumerics to incorporate significant words into his music as part of a grander scheme of compositional number symbolism. Smend collected historical testimonies and musical examples which confirmed his theory,

By the seventeenth century, alphanumeric were known about in many parts of Europe. They seem to have been most popular in German-speaking countries, where they were most frequently used as a means of solving mathematical puzzles,decoding cryptographic messages, in cabbalistic gematria and in the poetical paragram. It is common knowledge that Bessler was fascinated by paragrams and used them extensively throughout his works, most obviously in the form of chronograms.

These paragrams were described by a certain professor Christian Weise, in one of his many publications. He was headmaster of the school In Zittau that Bessler attended. He became Bessler's mentor and his teachings had a profound effect on him.  Professor Christian Weise was famous as a German writer, dramatist, poet, and teacher.  Although he was Rektor of the Zittau school, he had previously worked at the court of Duke Augustus at Weissenfels.  Following his success at designing, building and exhibiting his perpetual motion machine at Gera and Draschwitz, Bessler had moved to Wesenfels in 1714, where he worked on the new two-way version of his wheel.

JS Bach applied for the position of the organist in Weissenfels but failed to obtain the post then, although he wrote works in praise of the Duke later, so there was no bad feeling between them. In 1717 David Heinichen became a colleague of Johann Sebastian Bach and in 1721, Heinichen married in Weissenfels where he had been born and where he lived for much of his life. I continue to believe that Heinichen passed on to Bessler his ideas on the circle of fifths because they all lived and worked in close proximity to each other and their fields of interest, music and organs overlapped, but I suspect that the alphanumeric system so popular in Germany at the time was also discussed.

It seem to have been a small world in which Bessler lived.  His headmaster worked for many years in Weissenfells, where JS Bach and David Henichen also flourished. Bach used some of Weise's poetry in his operas.  He wrote his own version of the circle of fifths which, although it bore no similarity to Heinichen's was based on the same theory.  Weise wrote knowledgeably about paragrams and it would seem unlikely that Bessler would not have leaned all about these popular number-alphabets directly from his mentor.

I'm writing a longer article examining these paragrams as they may hold one of the keys to deciphering much of Bessler published te xts. I'll publish it later on one of my websites.

PS the above information I culled from a varierty of web sites too numerous to mention, other than wikipedia.



Thursday 18 July 2013

A typical conversation about gravity-enabled wheels remembered.

I was talking to a physics teacher yesterday, a man of some years experience teaching at a fee-paying school and we got to discussing my research into Bessler's wheel.  

"Of course you do realise that he was a fraud, don't you?" he said.  

"How do you know that?" I asked.  

"Surely you know that gravity is a conservative forece and as such it cannot be used to supply energy continuously to drive that wheel of his,"  was his response.  

"But, " I replied, "the evidence that his claims were genuine is overwhelming and the numerous witnesses  none of them fools, nor easily misled.  Many of them were scientists, teachera and engineers themselves and looking for the signs of fraud."

"I'm sorry, my friend," he replied, "but you must face the facts, it's impossible, and I'll tell you why. To make the weights move in and out to cause overbalance, they will travel on different paths - right?"  I nodded because I knew where he was going with this.

"A conservative force is defined as one where  the work done in moving an object between two points is independent of the path taken, so even if they move inwards and outwards according to whether they are rising or falling...makes no difference."

"Yes I am aware of that",  I said somewhat sarcastically, "gravity is a conservative force but just as a matter of interest, can you name a non-conservative force?"

"Yes of course, friction is a non-conservative force."

"And another one?"

"Well, right now I can't think of any others, but that is not the point," he said.

"But that is the point" I replied, "there are no others worth mentioning because almost all forces are conservative and although you may technically be correct I simply cannoit regard friction as the same kind of force as all the others.  Let me ask you this; is the wind a conservative force?  Is a current of water a conservative force?"

"Well yes but their interfaces are different."

"What d you mean?" I asked.

Gravity acts on the molecules constituting the weights, while those in the wind and water act on the external surfaces of the blades."

"Sorry," I responded, "that doesn't make any difference if, as you say, the path they take doesn't matter with a conservative force. Yes the shapes of the interfaces alter, but you can't say that that excuses the fact that even though it's a conservative force the wind can still be used as an energy source - or a stream of water.  They are conservative forces and yet they demonstrate the fallacy of your argument.  Maybe I can make the path of the weights make a different shape depending on whether it's rising or falling, just like the two surfaces of the windmill sails for instance."

"You are wrong my friend, science has taught us that gravity is not a source of energy, other than for the time it takes for a weight to fall, for over 300 years, but if you can prove them all wrong, I'll eat my hat!"



Friday 12 July 2013

Bessler's Codes - what do they mean?

This blog is sub-titled, "A blog about Johann Bessler and the Orffyreus Code and my efforts to decipher it", so it should come as no surprise if I occasionally actually discuss the codes I've been working on.  It has always puzzled me that few people discuss my efforts at decoding Bessler's works, other than an occasional mention in passing.  I assume that it is either because the codes reveal little of interest other than continual references to pentagons and the number 5 - or the argument I put forward in explaining the codes does not convince.

Despite the lack of anything of substance being revealed, obviously Bessler thought that anyone interested enough to find just the clues I've decoded, would seek to use the information to look for the real information so clearly hidden in all of his books.  Just because I have failed so far does not mean that someone else might not succeed and I hope that there are those out there working at the puzzle in an attempt to tease out what it was Bessler wanted us to know.

On my chief decoding site at I have provided brief but logical descriptions of the codes I've fathomed, and they are only the ones where the proof of their existence is irrefutable. There are others which are more speculative and I am reluctant to detail them because of that very fact; they are hard to prove.

But the real question that absorbs me is what do these many references to fives and pentagons signify? I always believed that he meant that there were five mechanisms needed, but my own experiments and his comments about having just one crossbar hardly made the wheel turn at all, implies that five is not necessary although it could be the optimum number.

Considering my findings about chapter 55 in his Apologia Poetica,  which you can read at you can see that this part obviously contains a coded message, and the reinforcements of this message, 55 verses  etc, confirm this.  The only drawing in Apologia Poetica, the Apologia wheel as it has become known, contains a pentagram above the words, 'do you still not understand?'  Surely this book but not this drawing is the place to start looking for an answer?  

What of Das Triumphirende?  There do not appear to be any mysterious Xs, nor blanks in place of certain words - but there are drawings full of mystery and intrigue.  And even his Maschinen Tractate contains at least pentagram... where,,,why number 55 of course!  Also MT137 an apparently random drawing thrown in to confuse has as its basis, not just the pentagram, but the 'circle of fifth's, well-known in musical instruction but not so well, outside the profession.  I speculated that it was the 'circle of fifths', because that particular invention is attributed to Johann David Heinichen, who coincidentally lived in the same village as Bessler did, at the same time, when he (Heinichen) was an aspiring musician, composer and teacher, and Bessler was making church organs for the same people.  The circle of fifths is built up from a simple circle within a square and the resulting points are connected at every fifth point producing the dodecagram familar to both MT readers and musicians.

So here are all the firmly decoded clues available for all since at least 2009 and yet barely a single comment about any of it.  What puzzles me further is that  there are people still trying to build wheels based on the Apologia wheel which I've demonstrated is no such thing but merely a pointer to a pentagram.  

Others ask questions which they could easily find the answer to, if they only look, or they make  assumptions  based on inaccurate information which lead to utterly erroneous conclusions because they did not take the trouble to study the information both here and on the besslerwheel forums.


Meanwhile my wheel building continues and I hope to finish it before I take a break in about three weeks.



Saturday 6 July 2013

" it really a wheel, for it does not have the normal type of rim."

I had an idea about the above comment of Bessler's while considering something unrelated to it. My current build has one mechanism and I was considering how, in a future build, I would fit five mechanisms onto the face of the wheel and realised that it would be easier use the other side or face of the wheel as well.  Then I fell to wondering if that's how Bessler did it.

I have always assumed that his wheel consisted of two discs firmly connected together with all the mechanisms installed between them, but in fact it would be much easier to build the whole thing on a single disc, using each side.  This would explain the need to cover the two faces of the wheel with oil cloth.  I thought it strange how the reports described  the look of the wheel and could not see why he needed oilcloth to cover the sides, if two discs were underneath and therefore covering the insides.  But in fact a simple frame attached to the single central disc would suffice to support the oilcloth, or the thin deals described in another report.

Then we come to the above quote; the word used for 'rims' is 'Felgen'.  There is no other possible translation, however 'rims', these days, in relation to wheels are the outer edges of a wheel, holding the tire (tyre).  They make up the outer circular design of the wheel on which the inside edge of the tire/tyre is mounted.  Before rubber was invented, the first versions of tires were simply bands of iron that fitted around wooden wheels to prevent wear and tear. In the 1st millennium BC an iron rim was introduced around the wooden wheels of chariots.

So when Bessler says it looks like a wheel but it has no rim, he means that it can be described as a wheel but it wouldn't be any use as one because it has no rim or tire/tyre.

Note - Apparently the word 'rim' relates to Old Norse, 'rime, rimi, a raised strip of land, ridge'.

And from the online etymylogical dictionary - 'tire (n.) late 15c., "iron rim of a carriage wheel," probably from tire "equipment, dress, covering" (c.1300), a shortened form of attire. The notion is of the tire as the dressing of the wheel. The original spelling was tyre, which had shifted to tire in 17c.-18c., but since early 19c. tyre has been revived in Great Britain and become standard there. Rubber ones, for bicycles (later automobiles) are from 1870s.



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