Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Was Johann Bessler the First Successful Perpetual Motionist?
Given that in my opinion, at least, Johann Bessler’s wheel had, as an optimum number, five mechanisms, and it was therefore designed on a plan of a pentagram, I wondered if perhaps there might be something in the pentagram that might have some association, historically with continuous-turning wheels.
Perpetual Motion machines seem to have engaged man’s curiosity for hundreds of years. There are written records going back to the twelfth century describing at least one machine, and it’s unlikely that no one else considered the possibility long before that. There are no earlier written records currently available but maybe something will surface later.
But are we to believe that Johann Bessler was the only man ever to succeed in this ages-long search? I hope that one day some proof will emerge that demonstrates that the matter was researched and solved well over two thousand years ago. But because the design and concept do not lend themselves to a complete description in prose, we should probably be looking for some kind of drawing depicting the concept of an over-balancing wheel.
It was this thought in mind that many years ago led me to examine and consider, among many others, the yin yang symbol. I won’t go into the various meanings associated with the yin yang, there are many websites providing everything you could wish to know. I no longer think that this symbol carries anything of significance for the perpetual motion researcher, but I do like the image itself and I use it as my avatar occasionally.
The idea resurfaced recently when I came across some old Freemason images dating back more than 200 years, all based on the pentagram. It reminded me that the pentagram was used in Sumerian script some 3500 years ago. No signs of its use as a machine, but it was also used extensively in Ancient Greece and Babylonia too.
Further reading revealed that the pentagram appears in both Bronze Age and Iron Age art, and interestingly in Neolithic and earlier times. The Neolithic age began about 10,000 years ago and followed the old Stone Age. It’s appearance in those earlier eras is more prevalent than those following.
The interesting question for me is what was it that generated the idea of the pentagram all that long ago? Several examples of rock art include images of weaponry along with the pentagram, others show sun and star images. But none as far as I can tell give any further information about its purpose then. Later of course the Pythagorean developed a school of thought which included the pentagram and was based on mathematics and mysticism,which influenced Aristotle and Plato, but it doesn’t get us any nearer to why it might have held such interest so long ago.
It seems highly unlikely that anyone could build something as complex as Bessler’s wheel before the early Greek era, although there are reports of some ingenious devices both in early Egypt and Babylonia.
I can only conclude that as Bessler said, he was probably the only person in history with enough free time, ingenuity and perseverance to accomplish the task.
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