Friday 29 August 2014

Did Bessler leave any information to help us reconstruct his wheel?

This question is frequently addressed to me and I am  always amazed at it. I have no doubt that he intended to leave to posterity,  certain information about his wheel.  Let us look at the facts.

Bessler first became associated with the name Orffyreus, back in 1712, when letters mistakenly referred to him as Orpheus, the legendary musician.  This seems to me to indicate that Bessler had already adopted that pseudonym right from the beginning but only verbally, not in writing, hence the error of thinking he said Orpheus rather than Orffyreus.  We know that the word Orffyreus was derived from his surname, Bessler via the simple code system used by the Biblical scribes of the Old Testament, known as the atbash cipher.  This was originally used with the Hebrew alphabet, but modified to work with the English alphabet.

There seems little reason for Bessler to have required such a device unless he planned to use it to encode something.  But this simple code would have been useless because everyone at that time was familiar with it, so I think his intention was to place on record his use of the code as a pointer to other more elaborate ciphers.

In his Apologia Poetica he comments thus: Those who are keen to ask questions should ask them of this little book. My work will not be revealed prematurely. Here and elsewhere there are subtle hints that there is more to his books than meets the casual eye.

Also in Apologia Poetica he addresses his enemies; You'd like me to reveal the secret to you for nothing, wouldn't you? For nothing - as free as the air - an outright present with not a penny paid! What a miserly wretch you would then become, provoking God Himself to anger! No, no - that wouldn't be the way to do things; we must think of better arrangements. If I'm not granted a buyer, I shall be content in the grace of Our Lord.  This comment and another one suggests that if he doesn't sell his machine he will accept it and get on with his life.

Knowing how we modern day researchers guard our work (and I include myself) and yet wish to receive due acknowledgement should we succeed, I find it impossible to believe that Bessler would have neglected to leave some information about how his wheel worked, even if this were to be discovered subsequent to his death.  In support of this conjecture see the vast amount of encoded clues, some of which are described on my website

This subject of leaving our discoveries behind us for future researchers, should our earlier than expected demise arrive suddenly, has been discussed on the forum and it seems clear that we are mostly in agreement that some way must be found that allows any of us who so desires, to place on record somewhere all that each of us knows, or think we know, about this subject which might at a later date lead to a solution.  For this to work it is important that some means be used which would protect such information until either the author dies or he decides to release it for public consumption.

Bessler tried, but so far his clues have proved too difficult to solve, what is perhaps needed is a professional highly experienced cryptologist to work on the clues I have offered both on the above link and this one



Thursday 21 August 2014

Procrastination can still lead to Success.

I sometimes wonder what effect solving the question of Bessler's wheel would have on me.  Whether I found the solution or someone else did, a large part of my mental activity would be no longer be required and I would probably set off on some other quest just to occupy my inner self. The reason seems to be related to the pleasure we get from successfully solving a problem, whether it be playing computer games, or playing patience or doing crosswords.  The act of solving the problem is more enjoyable than simply being given the answer.

As an example consider this riddle:-

A prisoner is put in a room with 2 doors. 1 door leads to freedom, the other to exececution.

Next to the doors are 2 guards. One of the guards always lies, the other always tells the truth. The prisoner is allowed to ask one of the guards one question to figure out what door leads where. What does he ask?

Everyone wants to work out the answer themselves and are reluctant to give up until frustration overwhelms them and they have to ask for the answer.  In our case, of course we can't ask anyone for the solution until someone solves it first - or one of us does.  The answer to the above riddle is logical and can be arrived at with some simple trial and error, but sometimes it bursts upon you as insight, and you don't even know how you got it so quickly.  That kind of revelation is a familiar experience to all of us who seek the solution to Bessler's wheel.  (I'll give the answer to the riddle lower down.)

Unfortunately many of these revelations crumble to dust in the cold light of day, but the whole project is a learning process and even though we seem to be stuck in a kind of writer's block and we have run out of ideas, we can still triumph incrementally as we proceed.  So each time our designs fail it is something additional that we learned about the problem and it can be regarded as a triumph no matter how small and it is a tiny step towards the solution.  Of course it helps if you are an incurable optimist and enjoy the search for a unique design.

My own experience has been a mixture of frustration and excitement with the occasional disappointment.  But I also tend to procrastinate and that is an annoyance that appears easy to solve.  But to the millions of people who experience chronic procrastination, it can be discouraging when they are told, consciously or subconsciously:

1. It's their fault.

2. They need to stop complaining and "Just do it."

3. They are lazy or immature.

For the vast majority of chronic procrastinators, these statements are simply untrue. Almost all who suffer from this condition wish that they were productive. They have dreams and aspirations, goals and ambitions, that are destroyed by a force that is out of their control. Telling them to "just do it" or that they are lazy or undisciplined does not help.

Procrastination of this kind is a disorder, similar to obsessive compulsive disorder or a distortion of body image. Just as you cannot "blame" a person with OCD for their obsessive behavior, and tell them just to "cut it out," most techniques of curing procrastination do not work, since they amount to nothing more than simple advice: prioritize, then do it.

I find that if I need to make a simple choice such as 'shall I mow the lawn, or work on my wheel', the temptation is to go for the more rewarding choice.  So mowing the lawn is something that needs doing and provides an immediate reward, whereas working on the wheel, although capable of producing a huge reward won't be doing that so quickly.  There is also an element of psychology involved which suggests to your subconscious that leaving the wheel for another day, might delay the disappointment you may get from another failure!

So, the majority of procrastinators have these factors in common:

1. Fear of failure.
2. Frequent and temporary repression of their responsibilities, allowing them to focus instead on tasks which do not make them afraid, i.e mowing the lawn!
3. Self-conflict. Procrastinators have the belief, common in childhood, that all pleasure comes from leisure, from these "lack of responsibility tasks," while at the same time believing that it would be best if they produced and achieved at their highest standard.

With thanks to various web sites and in particular

And the answer is, "If you were the other guard, which door would you say leads to freedom?"

They will both point towards the door that leads to an execution, so you pick the other one.


The guard that always tells the truth, will be truthful/honest and say what the guard that always lies would have said, so he will point towards the execution door (that would be the answer of the "dishonest" guard).

The guard that always lies, will lie this time as well, and won't answer what the other guard would answer, so he would also point towards the execution door (that wouldn't be the answer of the "honest" guard, and hence a lie).



Sunday 10 August 2014

The Legend of Bessler's Wheel.

The legend of Bessler’s wheel began on 6th June 1712, when Johann Bessler announced that he had invented a perpetual motion machine and he would be exhibiting it in the town square in Gera, Germany, on June 6th of that year.  Everyone was free to come and see the machine running.  It took the form of a wheel mounted between two pillars and could run continuously until it was stopped or its parts wore out. The machine attracted huge crowds.  Although they were allowed to examine its external appearance thoroughly, they could not view the interior, because the inventor wished to sell the secret of its construction for the sum of 10,000 pounds – a sum equal to several millions today.

News of the invention reached the ears of high ranking men, scientists, politicians and members of the aristocracy.  They came and examined the machine, subjected it to numerous tests and concluded that it was genuine. Only one other man, Karl, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, was allowed to view the interior and he testified that the machine was genuine.

There were several attempts to buy the wheel, but negotiations always failed when they reached an impasse – the buyer wished to examine the interior before parting with the money, and the inventor fearing that once the secret was known the buyer would simply leave without paying and make his own perpetual motion machine, would not permit it.  Sadly the machine was lost to us when the inventor fell to his death during construction of another of his inventions, a vertical axle windmill. 

However, the discovery of a series of encoded clues has led many to the opinion that the inventor left instructions for reconstructing his wheel, long after his death.  The clues were discovered during the process of investigating the official reports of the time which seemed to rule out any chance of fraud, hence the  interest in discovering the truth about the legend of Bessler’s wheel. 

My own interest was sparked by the realisation that an earlier highly critical account by Bessler's maid-servant, which explained how the wheel was fraudulently driven, was so obviously flawed and a lie, that I was immediately attracted to do further research. In time I learned that there was no fraud involved, which left me with the only other possible explanation, the wheel was genuine and the claims of the inventor genuine

The tests involved lifting heavy weights from the castle yard to the roof, driving an Archimedes water pump and an endurance test lasting 56 days under lock and key and armed guard.  Bessler also organised demonstrations involving running the wheel on one set of bearings opened for inspection – and then transferring the device to a second set of open bearings, both sets having been examined to everyone’s satisfaction, both before, after and during the examination.

So the only problem is that modern science denies that Bessler's wheel was possible, but my own research has shows what might be called a loop-hole, a work-around that avoids conflict with the laws of physics.

I have produced copies of all Bessler's publications, with English translations.  They can be obtained by clicking on the appropriate links on the right.



Monday 4 August 2014

The building of Bessler's Wheel

I've often wondered how Johann Bessler built his wheel, by that I mean what order did assembly take place and what problems did he encounter in the process.  I simply build onto a wooden disc but if I wanted to hide the interior I'd use a second disc to cover the open side.  When all is assembled I mount it onto an axle and place it in the bearings which are fitted on a stand.

Bessler was dealing with a much larger wheel and considerably more, and heavier, weights.  I think he would start by mounting the chosen axle onto a supporting structure, possibly one which he could move easily.  But would he then mount a twelve foot disc for one side onto the axle?  No, I think he would begin with a much smaller disc of about half size, say six feet diameter. giving him three feet depth to access the interior.  He probably made the mechanisms, or at least as much of it as he could, before attaching it to the the cross bars.  I assume that holes would be cut through both discs for the crossbars and fixed both  inside and outside to each disc.

Having the wheel diameter much shorter would allow access for fitting the mechanisms to the cross bars.  Without the second disc already in place there would be too little support for the mechanisms.  Once the initial assembly had been completed in the smaller wheel he could add the rest and proceed to fit the remaining portions of the wheel. I have reason to think this method was used because of a piece of description of the wheel found in Bessler's Das Triumphirende.  He describes the wheel as being in the form of a drum, twelve feet wide, with a thickness varying from fifteen to eighteen inches.  Curiously nobody has ever recorded this variation in thickness, as far as I'm aware, but it seems safe to assume it was there.

I think 'sGravesande measured the thickness at the rim and got 18 inches, which suggest that the 15 inch thickness was further in towards the axle.  If this is the case then the wheel was built in two sections as I described above, and the other part added once the mechanism was securely fixed inside.  This later addition would have been attached to the outside of the first part thus giving and extra inch and a half to to each side of the wheel.  

This is a copy of a drawing I included in my book about Johann Bessler, Perpetual motion; An Ancient Mystery Solved?  It shows the two thicknesses I have described above :-

I suppose the canvas covering which would also have covered the positions of the cross-bars also disguised the varying thickness present.

I have considered other reasons for having varying thicknesses but this seems to me the most likely.  It's possible that a section, or sections, of wheel might have been removable from under the canvas which could provide access to the weights to remove them when required.  I can see how this might be achieved through several pieces being removable to allow access all the way around the wheel.  Because that is another detail often overlooked; how did he access all the weights from around the whel through one aperture?  He couldn't so there were either several, which would require several holes in the 'disc' under the canvas, or he simply removed sections from some area a certain distance from the axle, presumably near to the rim.



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