Friday, 8 December 2017

Permanant Imbalance and Spontaneous Rotation

I noticed yet again the suggestion on the Besslerwheel forum that the reports that Bessler’s wheel was able to begin rotation as soon as the brake was released must be wrong because it was impossible for the wheel to be permanently out of balance.  So - several points here.

The first thing to say is that all eyewitnesses described the first two wheels as beginning to rotate as soon as the brake was released. They accelerated up to their full speed of  over 50 RPM.  These first two wheels could only turn in one direction.  People have suggested that perhaps Bessler stopped the wheel at a particular point in rotation so that as soon as it was released it would begin to spin.

Why would anyone think that?  It was reported that many people were allowed to screw a bolt in and out to slow or stop the wheel as often as they wished and then allow it to spin up again, by loosening the bolt.  Why was it thought that Bessler cheated to create the effect of spontaneous rotation?  There are some who believe that it is impossible to design the wheel to spontaneously begin to spin and therefore Bessler was cheating, but the whole idea of a perpetual motion machine is said to be impossible so why focus on such a debatable detail for which there is no evidence? 

If, as Bessler claimed, his wheel did begin to spin spontaneously upon the brake’s release, then of course he had to apply a brake otherwise it would have continued to spin until the bearings wore out. So there had to be a brake.

Let us now examine the matter a little more closely. In order to begin to spin as soon as the brake was released, the wheel must have been out of balance before the brake was released.  So it had to be out of balance even when it was brought to a stop, which of course it had to be otherwise the brake would not have been needed.  It was out of balance when it was allowed to start, and it was out of balance when it was forcibly stopped, therefore it was therefore permanently out of balance.

For this condition to be present the weight which fell and overbalanced the wheel, must have also reversed the action of the preceding weight.  In other words it created a condition of imbalance when it fell, thus prolonging the overbalancing effect permanently.

Although the chances of creating a mechanism which effectively achieve the action described in the paragraph above, seem vanishingly small after 300 years of trying, I am confident that this solution will be found.  I can’t say unequivocally that it has been found because I don’t have a working model yet, but I am aware of the specific Bessler clues which demonstrate how Bessler did it.

One more thing; the mechanism was described as simple,  well it may look simple to understand, but it isn’t so easy to build.  Each mechanism, of which there five - and there is no doubt about that - consists of ten separate pieces metal, plus two weights.  There are no springs and there is nothing odd about the weights, so I think the weights which Bessler allowed to be examined were wrapped a handkerchief for two reasons, firstly they were greasy and secondly it added to the mystique surrounding the whole event.  Mine are simple lead discs with a hole through the centre.  I can put several on one bolt to produce the desired weight.



  1. John Collins,
    You are exactly right. The wheel had to be continually OOB. With maximum torque stalled. Which means it could only have worked on gravity. What a problem to have! He couldn't get his wheel stopped and I can't get mine going-------------

    Bessler's wheel is going to be like every thing else, once you know how to do it, it will be easy but, only after the fact.

  2. All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.

    Galileo Galilei

  3. Another possibility for immediate rotation would be a balanced wheel, but a mechanism which stores energy within the structure, acting upon the wheel at the point of release. The only mechanical mechanism that comes to mind that stores energy is a spring.

    Of course, with this, we have to accept that Bessler was using spring(s) in his apparatus. Of which, I realize that not everyone does.

    The best holidays to everyone here!


  4. My 8 ft wheel is really spinning at 27 rpm. If his 12 ft wheel turned 27 rpm as reported, the speed of the external surface was amazing. Then if the small wheel turned 50 rpm then it would have had a lot of energy in its momentum. The position of the mechanisms forced one side to fall and continue that same rotation. The mechanism that you have presented John, has some amazing inherent properties. I have now put all 5 mechanisms on the pivot and just yesterday started connecting the motion mechanism and it is awesome. Clearance is really marginal, but the action is perfect. If 5 mechanisms are good, then 7 would be better and I think that it was reported that they heard 8 impacts on the decending side. Sending you the best wishes for the Holidays

  5. Well, my thoughts are different...if the weights were greasy he would have used some other cloth not necessarily his one would think of greasing his hankie... the weights in BW certainly did carry a secret...they were the most important components...I am sure Trevor would understand this better... wishing all a great season...

    1. I think that in his daily routine of presenting his wheel to people Bessler customarily would have had a cloth available to wipe his hands before greeting his guests, possibly an old handkerchief or something similar.



Johann Bessler and the Orffyreus Code

On 6th June, 1712, in Germany, Johann Bessler (also known by his pseudonym, Orffyreus) announced that after many years of failure, he had s...