Friday 28 November 2014

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." - Sherlock Holmes

There are often comments, both here and on the besslerwheel forum which strive to cast doubt on various pieces of evidence in an attempt to explain away Bessler's achievement.

For instance sometimes it is an accusation that Karl the Landgrave, was somehow implicated in a plot to lend credit to Bessler's claim to have invented a perpetual motion machine, when all the time, it is said, he knew such devices were impossible.  I have presented all the evidence in my book, "Perpetual Motion; An Ancient Mystery Solved?", and I have no wish nor room to present it again here, suffice to say, read my book and you will see that Karl had no desire or intention to be involved in such a plot, he was an honourable man and recognised as such and he had too much to lose if he was found to have been taken in by a fraudster.

Another accusation suggests that either the witnesses to the wheel tests were a bunch of gullible fools, or else were participants in the same scam described above.  Again, a read of my book will give details of all the most important and influential observers  present at the examinations and it becomes obvious that they were astute and competent witnesses perfectly capable of making up their own minds about the validity of the tests.  Many of them were determined to prove that Bessler was a fraud but ended up supporting his claim.

One suggestion is that Bessler fooled everyone over a period of more than ten years and none of the witnesses, including Karl, realised that they had been duped and that the whole thing was a fake.  The thing people should ask is, how was that achieved?  How did the wheel keep turning for 54 days and nights in a locked and guarded room, without any means found through which someone (who?) might turn the wheel from an adjoining room (they had all been searched prior to the long test) and leave no trace of their presence?

How did Bessler manage to hide any connection to another room, when he showed the wheel on two separate sets of open bearings mounted on separate pillars, changing positions as often as the examiners requested?   There is much more but despite all the evidence in support of Bessler, I sense a certain desperation in these suggestions of fraud, based on no evidence whatsoever, other than that which we have been taught - that it is impossible.

Because people believe, without a trace of doubt, that a gravity-driven wheel is impossible, they search for another explanation - but there isn't one.  Bessler said that the weights formed the perpetual motion itself and there was no connection to any other source of energy other than that inherent in the weights themselves - their weight.  Even those who believe in Bessler still seek alternative energy sources because they simply cannot accept that gravity alone can be that source.  In his book, Das Triumphirende Bessler spoke clearly about the source of the energy his wheel used and he gave his patron Karl, a copy of the book, and clearly he must have known that the Landgrave might read it and question anything which he found deceitful, fraudulent or inaccurate.  

 "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."   The truth is that gravity will prove to be the energy source and the sooner people realise that and accept it, the sooner the solution will be revealed.



Sunday 23 November 2014

Intuition and Instinct versus Education and Peer Pressure.

I've been researching and building Bessler's wheel for so long, I no longer consider how extraordinary is the thing I will achieve if and when it works, or anyone else who hopes to be successful, instead of me!  For an extraordinary thing it will be, make no mistake - inventing a machine which requires naught but gravity to feed it!

I understand why the prevailing consensus of opinion rules strongly against such a concept and yet man's instinct is that this   will   work It is that same intuition that informed us that a heavier than air machine could fly, when experts predicted it wouldn't.  "Radio has no future. Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible. X-rays will prove to be a hoax." -- William Thomson, Lord Kelvin, British scientist, 1899. Probably the largest source of wrong predictions today, concern global warming, but I'm not even going there!  On the subject of erroneous scientific predictions, I think that the presumption that gravity-driven machines are impossible will become one of the most famous.

Scientific misconceptions are usually accepted beliefs that were founded on inaccurate arguments that sometimes have little basis in actual scientific fact. Scientific misconceptions can also refer to preconceived notions based on religious or cultural influences. Many scientific misconceptions occur because of faulty teaching styles and the sometimes perplexing nature of true scientific texts. Some topics, like evolution are hamstrung with so much moral interpretation that the truth is rarely revealed and the majority of common knowledge regarding the topic is erroneous.

What is so curious about the Johann Bessler case is that he went to great lengths to prove his claims, improving his wheels, inventing and reinventing new tests to prove that he was not a liar.  All who attended the tests believed him, how could they not?  The evidence was so irrefutable; the tests so conclusive; what else could he have done - other than show the internal workings? But science ignored Bessler's claims and even ignored the word of a man of proven integrity who knew the secret too, confirmed the inventor's claims and supported him.

The key to understanding why it was thought impossible in Bessler's time, lies in the difference between what we mean now by perpetual motion and what they meant 300 years ago.  Because the word gravity, as I have said many many times, simply means heaviness, it was not recognised as a force but rather as an intrinsic feature of all things on earth.  Heaviness did not convey the feeling that one could tap into it as Bessler claimed.  Since it was not separable from the thing having heaviness, how could it be used separately? 

Sir Isaac Newton said that any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.  Note that word "force"; in physics a force is any interaction which tends to change the motion of an object.  According to Voltaire, at the time of Newton's death in 1726, even "after 40 years since its publication, his ' Principia' had not 20 readers outside of England", so it is little wonder that any suggestion that gravity might provide the necessary impetus to rotate Bessler's wheel was misunderstood or not believed, and yet Newton himself drew a design for a gravity-driven wheel, so he must have considered the possibility.

So in Bessler's day, perpetual motion meant something which would run continuously without any additional force being added - a closed system.  No wonder the scientists of the day dismissed it; a closed system that needed no energy input and yet kept running and doing work! Perpetual motion as a closed system is pointless, even if it were possible. Today I think of Bessler's wheel, not as a a perpetual motion device, but as something which will run continuously as long as it is fed energy, energy such as the force of gravity, or the energy we obtain from burning fossil fuels in cars, planes and ships.  There is no difference and yet we don't deny those latter devices will run continuously as long as they have fuel to burn and don't break down, but they are not what we understand as perpetual motion machines.  There is of course the small but important detail, can gravity be tapped in the same way that gas can?  Science says no - Bessler says yes!


Tuesday 18 November 2014

Bessler's Wheel could be a powerful Prime Mover.

The question of how much power might be available from Bessler's wheels is often raised and I'd like to argue (again) that those who suggest the wheel may have little useful power are wrong in their assumption.

Bessler's first wheel was only four and a half feet wide by 4 inches thick and he had to respond to the criticism that it was too small to be of any use.  His last two wheels, the Merseberg and the Kassel, measured twelve feet in diameter by one foot, and one and a half foot in thickness, respectively.  The fact that people thought the Gera wheel was too small suggests that they believed that increasing the size would increase its power - a logical assumption and obviously one that Bessler agreed with

The first wheel was a proof of principle one, and probably the largest he could afford to make at the time.  The later, Merseberg wheel, turned at 40 rpm, but the Kassel wheel at only 26 rpm.  Bessler said that he "could make my wheel go really slowly, with a gentle rhythm, and it would still be able to raise even greater weights!"  The Kassel wheel was designed to turn more slowly than the Merseberg one because he wished to arrange for an endurance test of one month at least and there would be less wear on a slower turning wheel and yet it was able to raise the same seventy pound weight despite the slower speed, supporting his claim which was made some three years before the Kassel wheel was built.

In the case of the Merseburg wheel, Professor Christian Wolff commented on the use of pulleys about which he said, "At the moment it can lift a weight of sixty pounds, but to achieve this the pulley had to be reduced more than four times, making the lifting quite slow." The official certificate issued, described the weight as being seventy pounds and no mention was made of the four-fold pulley, I wonder if the reason for the use of the pulleys was to slow down the lift to make it last longer, just to impress.  So perhaps no pulleys were actually necessary?

If we take the Merseburg wheel for example, say the axle was six inches in diameter and the wheel turned at 40 rpm and the distance from the outside yard to roof, some fifty feet.  The circumference of the axle was close to 19 inches.  With the rope wrapped around the axle, one rotation lifted the rope just over a foot and a half, fifty foot would take just over 30 seconds. Using pulleys to reduce the load would extend the time to perhaps a couple of minutes, just about long enough for all the spectators, of which there were said to be many crowded into the room, to view the lifting process, through the two windows.

The Kassel wheel turned at 26 rpm but was able to lift the same weight as the Merseburg wheel.  It was, however six inches thicker than the Merseburg wheel and I suggest it was wider to accommodate additional weight to compensate for its slow rotation.  This supports Bessler's claim that he could manipulate the internal design to supply different speeds and load capabilities.

So the visitors and Bessler himself, saw the wheel as having the potential to be made more powerful either by increasing the number or size of the weights, or by reconfiguring the internal mechanisms.  

In Apologia Poetica Bessler answers the following question thus; "Could I undertake to construct even larger wheels - and to what size do I think they could be taken?”
Answer - with the help of good assistants I would have thought that something well over 20 ells in diameter would be possible, should anyone think such a thing desirable, and if the Lord should grant me the necessary strength and health." 

Twenty ells equals about 37 feet!  Imagine how much power you'd get from a wheel that big, and then multiply the number of them by, say ten on a single axle, and then tell me that Bessler's wheel will be useless because it is incapable of supplying enough power to be of any use.

It seems obvious to me that building a wheel capable or turning in either direction is clever but not practical.  The first two wheels which were one-way, began to spin spontaneously as soon as their brake was released and were capable of 50 rpm and I suspect would probably do more given the skills of modern engineering.  Add in the increase in size, weights and the improvements of configuration possible once the design is understood, and then add more wheels to each axle and you could potentially have a powerful electricity generator.


Tuesday 11 November 2014

Johann Bessler's clues were ambiguous and he used misdirection.

 I believe that Bessler always wrote the truth but left it to the reader to filter out the ambiguities deliberately planted as misdirection, but not misinformation.  In magic, misdirection is a form of deception in which the attention of an audience is focused on one thing in order to distract its attention from another.

We know that Bessler spent ten years researching and experimenting before he achieved success .  He asked for a large sum of money for the secret.  He seemed almost paranoid about giving the secret away accidentally, remember, he was afraid that a single word might betray his secret?

Is it likely then, knowing that his machine was going to be made available for the most rigorous examinations, that he would simply allow the noises coming from his wheel  to be heard by those many many people who came to see and investigate his claims?  Surely he would find some way of disguising them. Some of those who came to see the wheel undoubtedly admired the device, but others sought to uncover the scam they believed it to be - and there were those who sought the answer for their own purposes, to reveal the secret or claim it for themselves.

Bessler's first wheels were described as noisy. Some visitors suggested that the wheel contained a dog or a cat, because of the scratching noise which came from within.  In a letter to Leibniz, one of his correspondents, Gottfried Teuber, wrote , "upon the cord being released, the machine began to rotate with great force and noise".  Bessler's first certificate of genuineness, issued at Gera,  described how "the machine regained its strong, even and fast rotation each time. The movement was accompanied by quite a loud noise caused by the internal mechanism which lasted until the machine was brought to a forced stop".

I wrote about the Kassel wheel in my book on Bessler, "many people commented on the loud noise it made, and as eight weights fell at every turn of the wheel, one can imagine the effect of say a twenty-four pound weight crashing against the side of the machine four times every second!"  The 24 pound weight was my initial guess but there is nothing to say that it couldn't have been much lighter, I'm sure it was, but the fact is that what ever weight Fischer was hearing was landing four times a second no wonder he wasn't sure how many were falling at each rotation.  Bessler's first machines were described as very noisy and I would suggest that additional mechanisms were included to provide more noise to cover that made by the basic mechanism.

For a long time I have been unconvinced by Fischer von Erlach's description of the "sound of about eight weights landing on the side towards which the wheel turned."  I'm not suggesting that von Erlach was wrong but that Bessler was an expert at providing ambiguous information and the sounds that von Erlach heard were most likely the ones he was meant to hear.

The reason could be that the sounds were either muffled by something such as felt, or there were other sounds which were harder to place but which tended to obscure the ones he thought he could hear.  Those other sounds could have come from the  mechanisms designed to turn the wheel in the opposite direction to the current one.  These would be reversing and therefore possibly they made no distinct falling and landing sounds, but nevertheless there may have been extra noises which added to Fischer von Erlach's difficulty in identifying what and where he was hearing the eight sounds he describes.

If there were merely the sounds of normal operation coming from the wheel, mightn't that be much too big a clue to leave, at least in Bessler's own mind. Isn't it much more credible that he would have disguised any sounds which might lead to someone guessing how the wheel worked?  Suppose there were actually fewer, or more weights in the machine than the eight described, then Bessler would seek ways of cloaking the real sounds and supplying alternative less revealing ones.

Eight weights sounds like the kind of number anyone might suspect as being about right.  Did Bessler choose that number because he felt. that that many would fit in with what people expected, but suppose the actual sounds were quite informative about what was happening. Maybe there double thumps or the sounds of a spring expanding, or sliding noises or chains rattling, which taken together might have provided some clues as to what was happening inside.

 Perhaps; he muffled all the actual working mechanisms and their weights as they fell, or disguised other sounds and added eight loud heavy thumps to divert attention from the muffled noise the real mechanisms made - misdirection!

To make the wheel produce eight thumping noises at each turn would not be that difficult, the only problem being that, adding some or muffling some would create unequal intervals between the eight weight sounds.  This would surely have been noticed but there is no comment to that effect recorded.  That is why I think he muffled all the real sounds and substituted artificial thumps which  could produce the "sound of about eight weights landing on the side towards which the wheel turned."



Monday 3 November 2014

Success? Do you want Fame & Fortune or Complete Anonymity?

I was reviewing (again!) the options open to anyone who succeeds in recreating Bessler's wheel and this is what I think are the potential pluses and minuses.

So you've finished your version of Bessler's wheel and it works.  Your choices depend on what you are looking for.  Do you want fame and fortune - or just fortune - or would you prefer to just give it away anonymously?  The last one looks the easiest but may prove in practice to be impossible.

Placing a video on YouTube for instance, might seem like a safe way for anonymity but you'd be wrong.  The video would probably go viral worldwide and the media would be in a frenzy to be the first to find the inventor and write about him or her. or film them, interview them etc etc.  They would if necessary, employ hackers to discover everything about you.  Anonymity will not be an option.

By the same token fortune alone would not be an option  either, for the same reasons as before. Fortune without the fame that goes with it, might be difficult to achieve. Of course you might interest a group of philanthropist who might buy the device off you and develop it themselves with or without your input.  That could possibly offer you some kind of protection but it would be impossible to keep the news hounds away from the gates for ever..

So that leaves fame and fortune.  At least you retain some kind of control over what the media say about you and the fortune would certainly be substantial.  That way the media could have their cake, (or should that their pound of flesh?) and go on their way happy in the knowledge that you have given them their due - and been paid for it.

There is one more method that might do if you wish for a little money and complete anonymity and that is to find someone who would take the device off your hands for a small sum of money to be paid as and when it becomes available.  He would receive the fame and fortune and maintain complete confidence about where he obtained the device, possibly taking the credit for it.

All other options such as leasing, renting, patenting etc, all involve the fame part and perhaps the fortune too.  So unless you can take the fame or notoriety give it to someone who does want it.



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