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 www.theorffyreuscode.com

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 http://www.orffyreus.net/

JC

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53 comments:

  1. What puts me off looking for ciphers is my dismal lack of German or Latin... searching for clues in translations and transliterations is obviously a hiding to nowhere, and besides, the thing with substitution ciphers is that there's no way of knowing if the message you're finding is real or not - you can find entirely inadvertent references to anything at all that way. Maybe there's a reference to Paddington bear dating Jenifer Aniston in the acts of the apostles, who knows, it's just a matter of applying the 'right' cipher...

    Without something more solid to go on, that way madness lies..

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    1. I tend to agree with your assessment, Vibrator. That's why I focus on visual clues that Bessler left; that is, on certain mathematical relationships embedded in his few illustrations. Since math is a truly universal language on planet Earth (especially geometry), I think he would prefer to hide his secrets there rather than in Latin or his provincial German language. Of course, until they lead to a successful duplication of one of his wheels, all clue discoveries and evaluations should be considered as merely subjective. After successful duplication, however, they will all suddenly become objective.

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    3. Yes, consistent mathematical relationships would make for a much more compelling case, i think. There seems to be some rather tantalizing ratios and angles repeated in some of his prints, but i haven't been able to make anything substantial from them yet.. as you say, only a useful mechanism would validate any particular interpretation..

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    4. I'm not sure what to make of the Apologia "wheel". In fact, I'm not even sure if it's supposed to be a wheel at all. It's accompanied by a verse from Matthew 15, so the "wheel" might represent something Bessler was trying to say that had to do with religion and not with his pm wheels. For example, maybe the "wheel's" three rays are supposed to represent the triune nature of God for those that believe in the trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with the circle in the center representing the all seeing eye of God (that symbol is used over the pyramid on the reverse side of the US dollar bill). Then again, maybe it has something to do with alchemy or the Kabbalah or astrology or a dozen other things that might have had special significance for Bessler but which for us today is meaningless.

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    5. Vibe,
      if I'm right about my idea, Latin, German, Outer Mongolian, Swahili, don't matter a jot.
      Why ?
      Because the picture of the Meresburgh Wheel shows the whole kit and caboodle.
      One great big blindingly obvious clue !
      Fair Dinkum, ( that's Aussie strine for no b.s.)

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  2. John,
    is there any truth to Alejandro Jenkins claim that Bessler bequeathed his mechanical secrets to his son-in-law, locksmith Johann Adam Crone ?
    Article @ arxiv.org/pdf/1301.3097.pdf

    Just checked the alchemy symbols, and a sign very similar to the Apologia Wheel signifies phosphorus, maybe a chemical reaction was involved ?

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    1. Ooops!
      that symbol wasn't used until 1801, by John Dalton. :-(

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    2. That Apologia "wheel" also looks a lot like today's international symbol for radiological hazard. Hey, maybe Bessler discovered radioisotopes and his wheels were nuclear powered!

      Seriously, though, if I'm right about his wheels using the energy content of their weights for power, then, in a sense, they were powered by a process that extracted the energy represented by the masses of their lead atoms' electrons, neutrons, and protons. The nuclear reactions taking place in today's nuclear reactors only use the energy in the masses of neutrons and protons in the uranium or plutonium atoms they contain. So, Bessler's wheels were, if I'm right, actually using the energy of the atoms in their lead weights more efficiently than is done by modern nuclear reactors with the metals they contain! Of course, modern nuclear power reactors can extract the energy of their subatomic particles at a far faster rate than Bessler's wheels could. This is yet another reason that I don't believe his wheels, even after the details of their construction are rediscovered, will be considered a serious source of power for the modern world.

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    3. Alejandro Jenkins claim that Bessler bequeathed his mechanical secrets to his son-in-law, locksmith Johann Adam Crone is based on a document which Bessler signed promising that he will reveal everything about his wheel if the blacksmith gives permission to marry his daughter. There is no evidence that Bessler shared anything and Krone died before Bessler.

      There was discussion on the forum a while ago, which concerned a leather-bound notebook held by descendents of Krone. Correspondence between myself and others suggests that book was lost a while ago upon the death of the then owner.

      Perhaps the book, if genuine, contained some rough drawings intended for Bessler's Maschinen Tractate. It would not have been necessary for a complete book to be given if all the man wanted was to know how the wheel worked. But this is mere speculation because all we have is the signed document. My personal feeling is that Bessler would never have revealed his secret for anything but the £20,000 he was still demanding.

      JC

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    4. @ Ken,
      I think what you're looking for is called Maxwell's Demon.

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    5. I don't see a connection to Maxwell's hypothetical "demon", but you raise an important issue here. If one of Bessler's wheels was used to raise an external weight, then that represents an decrease in the weight's entropy or state of disorder. For the second law of thermodynamics to remain valid, there must be a simultaneous and most likely even greater increase in entropy taking place somewhere inside of the wheel. Ordinarily, if mass was dropping inside of the wheel that would be the required increase in entropy taking place there. But, if the center of mass of a wheel's weights remains perpetually steady at some location on a wheel's descending side as the wheel rotates, then that mass is not dropping! So, how is the entropy of the wheel increased? There is only one answer that makes sense to me. The wheel's entropy constantly increases as the mass of its weights gradually dwindle as it rotates because that mass and the energy it represents actually "flows" out of the wheel and into the external weight that is being raised. Oh, yes, the physicists are going to be having a real party with these wheels once we figure out how they were constructed!

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  3. John,
    I've had an idea, I think the two biggest clues left by Bessler are, the Apologia Wheel, and the pentagon.
    Why ?
    Because I think the wheel will work with only three weights.
    Here's how.
    I've always liked H. Dirks' drawing of the Marquis of Worcester's wheel, but if you look closely, he's manipulated the chains and peg spaces to achieve the overbalancing effect.
    Now, if you take the same idea of two sets of pegs, one inner and one outer, each pair in line with each other, at eight equidistant spaces around the rim, then you hang a doughnut weight on each pair of pegs, you have a very simple P.M. wheel.
    Why ?
    Because the hole in the middle of the doughnut is PENTAGON shaped !
    The top three weights hang on the outer pegs, and the bottom three weights slip around to their next "corner" and hang from the inner pegs.
    The weights at 3 and 9 O'clock will have their "corners" resting on two pegs, but they will be in balance, so will not affect the other six.

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  5. @STEVO. Many new to pm wheel research have gotten excited over the Marquis of Worcester's wheel only to eventually realize that it is unworkable. It's image can be found here:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-L4KMxkJdLRo/U6iB27toI7I/AAAAAAAABAc/MjeC80BViak/s1600/ofyres0019.jpg

    At first glace it looks like it must work because, clearly, the weights on the right or descending side are located farther from the axle than the weights on the left or ascending side. Then you realize the problem. There are only 18 weights on the right side, but 20 on the left side. That discrepancy causes the center of mass of the weights to be located right under the axle and this configuration means there's no torque to drive the axle. This condition prevails no matter how many weights are used just so long as their supports are equally spaced from each other around the circumference and of equal mass. I know this from experience because I personally constructed several computer models of this wheel and none of them would run. Many variations of the marquis' wheel have been tried over the centuries and none has worked. For any design to work, it would have to have a center of mass that was always to one side of the axle. If there is any orientation of the wheel and weights that results in the center of mass dropping to a position below the axle, then the wheel will eventually "settle" into that orientation and stop running.

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  6. John,
    in your book I think you wrote that Bessler couldn't have invented an electric motor, but is there any chance he was aware of Otto Von Guerike's experiments with static electric repulsion ?

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    1. John,
      just discovered that one of S'Gravisande's students was the guy that invented the Leiden jar !
      A secret passed on maybe ?
      Check out Benjamin Franklin's electrostatic motor, just a few years later.

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    2. Yes Stevo, I knew about the Leiden Jar and Franklin's motor. I don't believe that Bessler's wheel was driven by electricity, or any force other than gravity. He would have had to make too big a jump intellectually and practically to go from nothing to a fully working electric motor. Also everything he says agrees with the gravity only theory.

      JC

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    3. John,
      I was thinking more of a static jolt to activate a mechanism that imitated kiiking.
      Leaving the weights and gravity to do the hard work.

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    4. Yes, Franklin's 1748 invention of the "Electric Wheel" is certainly interesting. Here's a URL to it's image:

      http://qsl.net/f3wm/sciences/jef_fig1.gif

      It consists of a horizontal wheel made up of glass rods that are tipped with brass thimbles. On opposite sides of the wheel one places Leyden jars that have been oppositely charged. As thimbles pass close to the center electrodes of each jar, they pick up some of its charge and are then repelled from it. This gadget looks like pm at first, but eventually comes to a stop when the charge difference between the Leyden jars is dissipated. Franklin, unlike Bessler, realized that his invention would never be able to compete with the newly developed steam engines. Yet, it is considered one of the first "electric" motors although, mechanically, it is not on a par with Bessler's wheels.

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    5. I just checked out the history of the Leyden jar and discovered that it was simultaneously invented by Prussian and Dutch inventors in 1745. It's interesting that Franklin was already using it in his Electric Wheel only 3 years later. Even more interesting is that the jar in invented in the same year that Bessler dies.

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    6. Ken,
      like I said a secret passed on maybe ?
      At the time, static attraction was thought to be the same as gravity.
      It's ironic that the thing Bessler mastered was the thing that killed him.
      The big question is, did he fall, or was he pushed ?
      Or maybe the discharge of a Leiden jar was the cause ?
      Set off by one of the in-laws.
      Like the police say nowadays, before you check the outlaws, check the in-laws !

      :-)

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    7. It's probably possible to fake Bessler's wheel using some sort of Leyden jar setup, but I doubt if that was the system he used. He'd have to have been shifting 4 lb weights using electrostatic charges which would have involved very powerful electrical charges produced inside of the wheels. I take the simplest mode of operation for his wheels. They were kept imbalanced while rotating due to the spring assisted shifting of weights attached to the end of levers. Nothing more. It sounds so simple to do, but I have found the details to be very difficult to obtain though I continue to make progress toward a final solution. Only last night I found another clue that was obviously purposely made and gives me the location of an important spring connection to the levers. I'm feeling a bit more optimistic after last week's failed testing.

      I don't think Bessler was killed by a discharging Leyden jar (although that is theoretically possible with one). He was a 65 year old man, in poor health, half starved, and trying to do manual labor on a freezing cold windmill in November. Maybe he blacked out and fell or had a heart attack and fell, or just slipped on some ice or was hit by a paddle and knocked off the top level of the windmill. We'll never know for sure. All we know for sure is that he died and what they found after his death was not enough to rebuild one of his wheels. But, if I'm right, the secret did not die with him. He had previously encrypted it into his illustrations using various geometric techniques. I think I've located this previously unsuspected source of clues and I continue to work on them. If the force is with me, I might finally have the solution before Christmas of this year. I remain optimistic.

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    8. Did Bessler die instantly after the fall or later in a hospital?....if the the latter is true then he would have definitely explained how he fell...

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    9. I've never seen any of the details of his death. Falling 4 stories is survivable if one lands on something to "break" his fall such as a tree, bush, building awning or, in the best case, a body of water such as a pond or moat. If one falls and lands head first on hard ground, however, then his neck / spine will probably snap and death will be almost immediate. If Bessler had found a buyer for his invention, then he would not have had to have worked in a dangerous situation at his age in order to get money to eat. If not for his fatal fall, then he might have lived to be 100. Really a sad ending he had. It will be a nice way to commemorate him by finding out what his secret wheel design was and use it to prove that he was not a liar who hoaxed the demonstrations of his wheels.

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    10. Bessler died from the fall. I doubt very much if there was an accident and emergency service back in those days!

      JC

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    11. John,
      I've just checked the word hospital in Chambers' Cyclopaedia (1728).
      It seems the only chance of emergency chirurgery back then was if you were run over by the surgeon's carriage, and then only if you could afford it !
      Hospitals were for soldiers wounded in the service of the king etc. or charity cases.
      But that was more hospice / hostel than what we know today.

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  7. John I think there is great significance in his statement, 'one or another, will exert it's force' in turning the wheel.
    It speaks to me more of a random effect, more like what would be experienced with chaotic pendulums.
    This is inferred in his poem.
    Just my opinion!

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    1. "one or another, will exert it's force" could simply mean the weights take turns applying their force.

      Its also hard to imagine there being anything random in a wheel that produces a constant force.

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    2. I have found that all of a wheel's weights work together to contribute to the torque that drives the axle. It's not all being done by a single weight. During each 45 degree segment of wheel rotation 7 of the 8 levers are shifting continuously throughout the segment and that keeps the center of mass of all of the weights on the wheel's descending side while a single weight makes contact with the drum's periphery. The process must be continuous or the center of mass will immediately begin to drop below the axle and torque will vanish. When Bessler says that "one or other of them must apply its weight at right angles to the axis, which in its turn must also move" this makes it sound like only a single lever's weight is driving the entire wheel. That is not what's happening, imo. But, during each segment of wheel rotation only a single lever's weight actually makes contact with a wooden piece attached to the drum's outer periphery. All of the other weights are not in contact with their wooden pieces during the segment but are in the process of revolving about their lever's pivot.

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    3. Trevor,
      if you imagine winding a clock in random increments, say 1/4 turn, wait 2 sec. another 1/4 turn, wait 5 sec. etc. etc.
      The spring will eventually wind, but give a steady output.
      So, what you suggest is not impossible.

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    4. Good one STEVO. Randomly winding one end of a main spring while the other end unwinds will provide constant (or maybe consistent) output as long as the spring stays sufficiently wound between windings. So there could be other examples of random acts or effects that contribute to a functional wheel.

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  8. Bessler asked his enemies : Are you still ...( does he mean motionless ? ) without understanding ? ( does he mean a support like a stilt or a vaulting pole ? )

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    1. Interesting. Maybe Bessler was taunting his rival pm wheel inventors by suggesting that their wheels were "still" or motionless, because they did not have Bessler's "understanding" of the mechanics required. I haven't heard this interpretation before.

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    2. I posted a reply to this but it disappeared. So again, well spotted Chris, and I like Ken's suggestion. It does actually use the word 'still' in the original German and English versions. I suspect it's a coincidence but I like to think it occurred to Bessler at the time he used the phrase.

      JC

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    3. the weight in the hanky we agreed on also ...

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  9. John,
    a while ago in one of your articles you listed among Bessler's effects, some large brass balls.
    I read somewhere that Bessler was testing the effects of gravity by dropping balls from a height, and seeing how deep a crater was made in a bed of sand, are they likely to be those balls, and not part of his wheel ?

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    1. I seem to recall the presence of the balls but there is nothing documented about their use by Bessler.

      JC

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    2. John,
      I made a mistake, it was 'S Gravesande that was experimenting, and by extension I took that to mean Bessler as well.
      I read it on Wikipedia, it also says that they (?) used soft clay, and not sand.

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  10. John,
    I know sometimes I might be the cause of rectalgia to yourself, and others,
    but I've just noticed something in the Meresburgh Wheels that may be extremely important.
    I deleted some of my ideas a while back, because I thought I might be on to something, but what I've just discovered has confirmed my line of thought.
    Next stop, a model, once the V.A.T. returns are finished !

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  11. Brain power is concentrating here, on this new topic of J.C.'s as never before, seemingly.

    Let us examine the pluses as accrued already:

    Behrendt is now not posting long, boring continuum's of screedy, vapid paragraphination.

    STEVO is being his usual brief but essentially brilliant self, imparting thought-wise a great deal even though using few words for it. (How very many here could not also learn to be- and do-likewise? To such, observe with care and then emulate him. I did and look what has happened!)

    JC is keeping the communicating assemblage nicely whip-cracked and orderly. (No one DARES cross 'im.)

    and . . . (drum roll)

    even exclusive and sadly to 'some' ignored cheekily, elusive VIBRATOR has weighed-in, adding yet more brilliance (born obviously of powerful observational powers as combined with some more rather than less, considerably obvious book-learning) to his estimable, native natural English eloquence.

    Really now, what more could one desire?

    Well, the answer complete and true becomes .

    "A self-motivating wheel, perpetually acting."

    Given all as I have listed it above, as combined with the noted, concentrated brain power present, this need is sure to manifest shortly.

    "Shortly."

    Emperor; Salieri; exit stage right, etc.

    As all summed: There is today no more need for "I", and therefor .. . .

    Ta-ta!

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    1. James,
      I'm brief because my two finger typing is lousy !

      :-D

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    2. Always pleased to get your input James. I'll try and write something more engaging but it's difficult to write about my own work without giving something away.

      JC

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  12. James, I usually only post in response to some issue someone else brought up and I only do so if I think I can clarify it a bit. I find it disheartening that, despite all of John's efforts to provide information about Bessler and his wheels, there is still so much confusion about them and outright disinterest. For me, when it comes to the "classical" pm wheel, it all begins and ends with Bessler's inventions. If one can not determine their operative principles, then what hope can he have of finding any other type of mechanical pm device? The solution to the Bessler mystery will eventually come but, most likely, it's arrival will not come according to anyone's planned schedule. It will come when it will come. Until then we must just keep the faith and keep searching for that intellectually satisfying solution.

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  13. Guys,
    talking of codes, and keeping in touch in case anything happens, has anyone heard from our very own Captain Codebreaker, Oystein ?
    He hadn't been well last time we heard from him.

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  14. John,
    I've often wondered whether Bessler actually used cords in his wheel, or something else, as wire rope wasn't around then, and even leather may have not been up to the task.
    Chain would be the next choice, but that seems to "nobbly" to me, I know on lifting tackle you can get a chain to lie in the dimples of a pulley, but in a revolving wheel, that may be too difficult to achieve.
    So today I had an AH- HA ! moment.
    I was in the pet section of the local supermarket, and I saw the dog chains, at first I thought of Bessler's line about a dog reaching as far as his chain would allow, then I noticed that the links had a little twist in them, allowing the chain to lie flat,then I thought, "That's more like it ! "
    When I gave the chain a twist, the links are like the infinity / sideways 8.
    I know that type of chain has been used in jewellery for a long time, do you think it's something Bessler could have used, so that his wheels mechanism would last ?

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    1. Just had another AH-HA ! moment,
      The ladder looking things on the M.T. toys page are Da Vinci's roller chain !

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    2. Stevo, I think chains were used for hundreds of years before Bessler. I live about 2 miles from a Norman castle which still has portions of the original drawbridge chains and they look just like modern ones. The Romans used them too, so I think any kind of adaption to the chains and pulleys could achieve what Bessler needed and such works were familiar to all. Also the organs which Bessler built needed long lengths of wire and cord which could be used around pulleys and levers to operate the pipe stops. So chains, wires, cord anything will do for our purposes.

      JC

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  15. @Stevo, practically all of the "weight at end of lever" wheel designs in MT show the levers connected together by what appear to be ropes. The design I am currently working with uses ropes. It's also possible to use chains or leather belts. The problem with chains is that they are noisy and it's not as easy to adjust their lengths as with ropes or belts. I believe that the ropes are absolutely necessary to synchronize the motions of the levers as a wheel turns. Without this synchronization, it's extremely difficult to keep the center of mass of the weights stably fixed on the wheel's descending side. I'm convinced that these ropes were what Bessler meant when he wrote about his "connectedness principle". But these ropes have to be carefully arranged inside of the wheel so that they do not interfere with each other as the levers shift about during wheel rotation. It took me a very long time to work out the way Bessler arranged the ropes inside of each wheel. These ropes have to be arranged into separate layers. During rotation, some of the ropes are tight and some are loose. The loose ones will, due to centrifugal force, curve out toward the periphery of the drum. If everything is working correctly, no two ropes will touch each other. However, sooner or later, a rope would wear and then break. When that happened, it was necessary for Bessler to reach in through one of the many inspection holes cut in the fabric side covering of the drum and make a replacement. I'm still working on the best method to attach the ropes to the levers as there are several alternatives available. Anyway, I'm again approaching a critical test of the design I have which incorporates what I believe is the correct interpretation of the latest clues I've found. I've been here many times before, so this will also probably be another failure. But, maybe not.

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  16. What if the rope had failed during the two month long sealed room test?

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    1. Depending upon which type of rope would have failed during the duration test, the wheel would have either been partially or completely disabled. Partial disability would not keep the wheel from turning although it would not reach its full free running speed. Complete disability would have stopped the wheel from running. Bessler, from his work in building organs, would have known which ropes were the best at resisting fraying while being tightened and loosened repeatedly over a long service time. Also, the manner in which the ropes are attached to the levers is very important since these places are ones that potentially can cause a lot of wear to an attached rope.

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  17. We need to seriously reconsider the rope use option...ropes may not survive in situations where constant movement is involved...the wheel could not have endured the long test period...

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  18. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information locksmith Paddington

    ReplyDelete

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