Sunday, 6 July 2014

Wheel update and Bessler's education.

I'm updating my progress with the latest version of Bessler's wheel because I've had a lot of emails in response to the magazine article, asking about the wheel and when I expect to finish it, and I haven't updated this recently.

The current MDF disc is three feet in diameter, and has five mechanisms attached to it, or at least it will have.  Each mechanism comprises 6 varying lengths of aluminium, three lead weights, and is attached to the disc at two points which is capable of swiveling.  There is another piece to the mechanism which I prefer to leave out for now.

I have returned to the idea of five mechanisms for good reasons and so far the two I have finished and attached perform as designed,  The individual pieces of alumininium have to be cut to size and drilled and filed prior to assembly, and I'm finding that this is the fiddly bit which is taking me so long.

Bessler said, "If I arrange to have just one cross-bar in the machine, it revolves very slowly, just as if it can hardly turn itself at all, but, on the contrary, when I arrange several bars, pulleys and weights, the machine revolves much faster,"  I take this word cross-bar to refer to part of the mechanism, and.  his constant reference to the number five persuades me that five refers to his conclusion that this is the most mechanisms he can fit in (on one side of the disc) and the most effective in applying their weight enough to turn the wheel.

I made a comment recently that Bessler may have had access to historical documents, but upon reflection I doubt if he was able to get hold of any books prior to is arrival at Kassel, some three years after his initial success in building his wheel.  He did have the benefit of a surprisingly good education given his lowly status as a peasant's son, but he had already shown signs of a lively and enquiring mind and that is why he was accepted as a pupil by Christian Weise, a well-known and highly respected teacher.

Bessler says he was taught field surveying, which seems an odd claim, but a valuable one for that era.  It suggests he understood areas and volumes and topography.  It also implies that he was taught the ancient Greek's discoveries by Aristotle and Archimedes, such as moments of force and inertia.  Copernicus' discoveries and those of Jean Buridan on impetus were almost certainly taught at school, so that only leaves centrifugal and centripetal force about which Huygens, Leibniz and Newton commented.  Bessler does mention Huygens and I suspect he was aware of that discussion also.

Add to this knowledge the vast amount of practical applications he studied during his research into the various crafts  and you get the idea that he had an intensely practical mind and an ability to understand easily the engineering aspects of all these mechanical apparatus.




  1. Good luck John,
    yes I think you are right to only fix the mechanisms to one side of the disc, if they were fixed to both sides,
    one would have to be a mirror of the other.
    This would then cancel out the mechanisms to make it a two way wheel.

  2. Good luck, John. Sounds like you are rapidly approaching a critical test of your wheel. I look forward to seeing the results. I interpret that "crossbar" to refer to something outside of his wheel and not inside of it, but, I could be wrong of course. My own research continues with a critical test practically every other day now. As usual I am close but not quite there. I've been that way for many years now but must continue just in case that next test is the one that gets results. Bessler really was blessed in a way when you think about it. As a peasant's son he learned the value of hard work, persistence, and questioning the established order. I think if he had been born with a silver spoon in his mouth like Carl he probably would never have been able to make a working perpetual motion wheel.

  3. John,
    I'm working on a little project at the moment that has only two moving parts, but it is an idea that moves horizontally.
    If I am successful, would it still vindicate Bessler ?
    Or, would it have to be a vertical wheel, and nothing else ?

  4. Do you mean that your wheel is mounted horizontally, Stevo? If it is and your idea works, it can lend support for Bessler's claims even if the configuration is different. Good luck.


    1. John,
      it's a weight rolling around a circular track, but it's attached to a shaft that could be used to drive a wheel in any position if you use gears or belts.

    2. John,
      just realised it's a bit like M.T.124.


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