I subsequently learned that Gould had spent many years in restoring the marine chronometers invented by John Harrison and for which he, John Harrison, was ultimately rewarded with the £20,000 promised by the British Board of longitude for finding a means to accurately establish a ship's position at sea. This offer was published in 17I4 and I had already decided that Bessler's decision to ask for £20,000, also in 1714, an identical sum of money, for the secret of his wheel, had been motivated by seeing a similar sum being offered as a reward, and clearly believed that his invention was at least as valuable.
Even though I could see that there were grounds for suspecting there was a connection between Gould's inclusion of the story of Bessler's wheel in his book, and his work on Harrison's chronometer, I didn't know what it was. Yes, the sums of money were the same, but that fact alone would not have pointed Gould towards Bessler, there had to be some other connection and there was.
In order to thoroughly acquaint himself with the workings of the marine chronometer, Harrison spent weeks studying each part before even beginning to disassemble any of it. He also studied numerous treatises on the subject including works by Huygens and interestingly, John Harris, whose 'Lexicon Technicum or Universal English Dictionary of Arts and Sciences',was published in two volumes in 1704 and 1708. Both volumes included very favourable comments about John Rowley, Master of Mechanics to the King. It is believed that Rowley made a number of the parts required for Harrison's' timepieces, and therefore he was a worthy subject for research by Gould. It would soon have caught Gould's attention that Rowley had become convinced that Bessler's wheel was genuine, since he had visited Kassel and examined the wheel at the time. Knowing of the high esteem Rowley was held in by his peers, Gould would have wanted to research this story for further information either for the clocks he was working on to discover how Bessler did it. He never found out and sadly commented that 'we must assume an imposition'. But that seems to have been the connection between Gould and Bessler's life. Gould published the results of his research in 'Oddities'.
We tend to dismiss the beliefs of experts from another age, and yet John Rowley himself showed great technical expertise with the amazing variety of instruments he manufactured to order. After having seen Bessler's wheel for himself, he spent the rest of his life seeking the solution for his own satisfaction. Rupert Gould was another, and although he assumed the wheel must have been a fake, it was not for want of trying to prove it was genuine, his own mechanical skills were beyond question Christian Wolf, Gottfried Leibniz, Willem 's Gravesande and many of the witnesses to the wheel's performance were highly articulate men with some of the most brilliant minds of their day and they too became convinced that Bessler's wheel was genuine - it is so easy for us to dismiss their opinions some 300 years after the event, assuming that they lacked our sophistication and ability to see through frauds. The fact is that they were just the same as we are with equal ability to test for themselves the authenticity of Bessler's claims. e should accept their view that the wheel was genuine and get on with seeking the solution. There is no reason why we cannot solve this mystery with some original thinking and Bessler himself said that we all tend to go over the same ground over and over in our attempts to do what he did.
And on a completely different matter - this for amusement only and I am not suggesting any of it is fact. Reading a text from a member of my family I was struck by an interesting coincidence. In the message the writer had used a familiar abbreviation for the word 'waiting'. He put W8ing. I was thinking about this when I realised that, according to my personal belief, as Bessler's wheel was driven by a certain configuration of weights and therefore relied exclusively on gravity for its energy, the word 'weight', could also be abbreviated to W8. This, on its own, is not a new concept but what was interesting to me was the fact that, according to von Erlach, 'about eight weights were heard landing on the side towards which the wheel turned', thus providing the connection to the number of weights thought to be working within the wheel - eight. But there's more.
The infinity symbol (sometimes called the lemniscate) is a mathematical symbol representing the concept of infinity, it looks like the figure eight lying on its side and thus forms another connection with the concept of perpetual motion, non-stop or perpetual or infinite.
As if that were not enough, Bessler's fascination with the number 5 and 55, as evidenced in numerous instances throughout his published and unpublished works, is often shown encoded as a 'W', which he explains is made up of two letter 'V's, or the Roman numeral 5.
You can find a number of fascinating coincidences in Bessler's works - don't be misled by them!