Friday 23 March 2018

Johann Bessler's Life to be Celebrated at Bad Karlshafen

Thanks to Georg Künstler and his post on the Besslerwheel forum, I have become aware of the impending celebrations in Bad Karlshafen, due to take place 24th May to 2nd June 2018.


Karlshafen, as it was known then, was the place Johann Bessler retired to and lived in a house courtesy of Karl the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, former patron of the inventor.  For those who don’t know the word ‘Bad’ in front of the town’s name simply stands for ‘Spa’. It has thermal springs.

The town tourist board are putting on a play each day, telling the story of Johann Bessler, and intriguingly have reported the discovery of an airtight package locked in a sealed box found in the harbour basin during renovation work.

See the old harbour below.

They claim that within the box is the world’s only surviving blueprint of Johann Bessler’s perpetual motion machine.  They ask, “will this solve the world's energy problem once and for all and make Bad Karlshafen world famous?

Now I do not know what is in this box, nor do I know whether it has any connection to Bessler, but it certainly could do. The discovery of this box may be the reason for the decision to celebrate the life of Johann Bessler in this particular year, although it might also be because he came to live in Karlshafen in 1718, exactly 300 years ago. But  I also note that the 'Hugenots and Waldesian Trail  has been awarded with the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 for the following activities related to “In the footsteps of Huguenots and Waldensians" project'.  This particulat piece of history related to the founding the town of Karlshafen (formerly called Sieberg) by escaped Huegenots who were welcomed by fellow Protestant Karl.

I considered attending these celebrations but I have no German and my experience of Germany during a visit a few years ago, to all the places related to Bessler’s life, is that few people speak English.  I may have just been unlucky in my contacts with local people but that was my experience then and it has coloured my expectations in the future. Although I enjoyed my visit and Karlshafen is an extremely attractive place, I see no point in sitting through a production which will be all in German, naturally.

Speculations about the mystery box have occupied my thoughts ever since Georg's notification of the event.  Bessler's house was literally less than a stone's throw from the harbour basin, which I believe was completed in 1717.  Given Bessler's obsessive compulsive desire to protect his secret  for as long as he lived, it is quite possible that he did indeed hide his secret within a waterproof and air-tight box and sink it into the water of the harbour basin - maybe only days before he died.

If that was indeed the case then he would know that from time to time the basin would need to be dredged and perhaps his box found, in which case it would need to be of sufficient sturdiness to withstand the rigors of recovery, while remaining watertight.  It maybe that it is possible to drain the basin in which case recovery would be relatively simple.

All this speculation can be resolved once the contents of the box is published, but I am not denying that although the box may be genuine it might be that its attribution to Bessler could be more of a publicity stunt, and speculation by the town tourist board encouraged while the contents of the box is not divulged.  Hopefully all will be revealed during the celebrations in May and June this year.

What if it does turn out to be blueprint for Bessler’s wheel? Someone will doubtless be asked to rebuild it and if they do and it works, what then?  Patent or released freely to the world at large.  Could it even be patented?

We wait with bated breath for the announcement of the box's contents.

EDIT, It seems my excitement at the prospect of discovering what lies within the mysterious box reputedly found in the harbour renovation was somewhat precipitate, as it now seems that the mystery box was a fictional element added to Bessler's life story, due to be enacted at the special event in May and June this year.  My apologies for this error which I blame on the ambiguous translation of the web page by google.


Friday 16 March 2018

Construction of My Version of Bessler's Wheel Re-Started.

My family's health probems having ameliorated a little, I no longer have to go to hospital every day, and that leaves me time to return to building Bessler's wheel!  It has been several months since I actually worked on it and in fact I had barely made a start when things began to deteriorate.  My plans for 2018 were put on hold, but I am confident that now things are improving, but never forget,  "Homo proponit sed Deus disponit".

The basic wheel or wooden disc upon which everything is mounted measures just three feet in diameter, and it will be no surprise to learn that it is divided into five equal segments.  Each pivot point has been marked and drilled and each stop point located.  I have fitted the pivot axles to all the necessary points, and can now begin construction of each mechanism.

These are complex for me to build but not that hard to understand.  Each mechanism has two equal weights attached to it and there are additional features which I prefer to keep to myself for now, but as I have said many times, all will be shared once it works or even if it doesn't.

This wheel is designed to turn in one direction only; it will start to spin spontaneously once the brake is released.  It would be tempting fate to fit a brake before I've tested whether it works - but it will of course!

I am well aware after all these years that gravity is not a source of energy, but I am still convinced that the overbalancing weights, provide the drive, as Bessler said, and you may tell me that gravity cannot provide energy, but without it there is no motion.

It’s a bit like saying petroleum provides the energy for the automobile, it doesn’t until it has been ignited and forced a piston upwards. Without the petrol you would get no action.

When I first researched the science which governs this subject, I realised straight away that a closed loop could not provide the energy from one falling weight, but several working together could in theory maintain an open loop, thus cotinuous rotation.

Initially I chose to experiment with over-lapping actions, and when it became too congested, I tested arrangements on both sides of a disc.  Then it became necessary to test arrangements on two and even three discs on one axle.  I knew that Besser’s first wheel was very thin but it seemed a logical step forwards if it gave me a clue to how he did it.

I tried to put myself in his shoes, designing wheels which might work but which could be refined and reduced to one disc once success had been achieved.  Later I returned to the single wooden disc because the other methods were too complex and tests showed that the multiple discs weren’t necessary.  But since those early experiments I have gradually broken through Bessler's smoke screens of misleading and ambiguous clues and I'm convinced that I have obtained the design which I believe will work.  If it does, I will explain how and why it is identical to Bessler’s design.

People have asked me many times over the years how sure am I that I finally have the right  design and I have always said, oh about 90 percent sure, but my certainty has always evapourated in the cold light of reality.  But this time .................................?


Thursday 8 March 2018

The Möbius Strip and Bessler’s Wheel.

I recently posted a little piece about my search for potential clues to Besser’s wheel, among ancient symbols, in particular the yin yang symbol.  Another of my favourites, not so old but intriguing nevertheless, is the sign for infinity in mathematics, the lemniscate. It has the appearance of a sideways figure eight, and although there are variations they are all similar.

This was introduced by John Wallis in 1655, and although he did not explain his choice of this symbol, it has been conjectured to be a variant form of a Roman numeral for 1,000 (originally CIƆ, also), which was sometimes used to mean "many", or of the Greek letter (omega), the last letter in the Greek alphabet, can also mean, infinity.

Lastly and most fascinating of all is the Möbius strap or band.  A simple device to make; take a long rectangle of paper or just a longish strip,nd join one end to the other, but put a half twist in before connecting two ends. I don’t want to bore you with all the quirks attached to this remarkably simple design but you can find plenty of information on the internet.

The interesting point for me is the apparent similarities to be found between the infinity symbol and the Möbius band. Admittedly the lemniscate doeasn't usually have a half twist in the path of the strip but I have seen some drawn like that and I wondered of the artist got confused or was it just an additional twist!

This brings me to the Toys page MT138.139.140 and 141.

Note the lower pair of figures labelled 'D'.  are shown in spiral or twisted design whereas the upper pair labelled  'C', are in straight stripes.  I've always wondered if that is meant to convey that the lower pair have a half twist in their relative positions somewhat like the infinity symbol of even the Möbius band?

I did try to manipulate my drawing of the figures 'D' to demonstrate what I meant but it ended up just confusing, so if anyone wants to try their hand at it I'll gladly post their pic here if its better than mine! So the right half of the ‘D’ figures needs turning up side down and flipped horizontally to complete the spiral move. To me the spiral is suggesting a upside down move as well as a horizontal flip.

This is not necessarily the right explanation but it needs some kind of examination and it has the typical look of a Bessler clue.

I believe I have discussed some of this many many years ago but I can't remember where or when, so apologies if we have been here before, but I definitely didn't associate the Möbius strip and the infinity symbol together along with the figures 'D' in the Toys page at that earlier time.

There may be some way of introducing Möbius-like mechanical configurations into Bessler's wheel?


Thursday 1 March 2018

Was the Prime Mover the Weight-Lifter or the OOB Weights?

There was a brief discussion about the Prime Mover in Bessler’s wheel on the Besslerwheel forum recently and I came away still unsure of exactly how we can define it.

Some people argued that since the wheel had to be Out Of Balance (OOB) in order to turn, the OOB arrangement of weights meant that that was the prime mover.  Others said it was what ever made the weights OOB was actually the prime mover.

A prime mover can refer to tthe device which extracts mechanical energy from an energy source or it can mean the engine which pulls the train.

Bessler's wheel was a prime mover because it extracted power from falling weights, but really I would like to say gravity!.

But within Bessler's wheel there must also be a prime mover which gets the wheel moving in the first instant.  What part converts the source energy into mechanical energy?  It must be the OOB weights. The wheel will rotate some amount as long as it is  OOB, but the weight-lifter part of the mechanism won’t directly effect rotation, that effect only takes place after is has lifted the weights.

On the other hand, ovyyus made a good point when he said, “Bessler’s first two wheels remained always OOB, even when held stationary. These wheels contained something (a prime mover) capable of lifting weights prior to any wheel rotation...”

So when the wheel was held stationary, the OOB weights were already in position to overbalance the wheel and we know that the biggest problem we all face is how to lift the weights.  Somehow something within the mechanism lifted the weights BEFORE the wheel could rotate.

But although I think the mechanism which lifted the weights was a vital part of the machine, it did not of itself, drive the machine around. That was due to the overbalancing due to the OOB weights, so which one was the prime mover?

Is the weight lifter the prime mover, or is it the OOB weights?  You can’t have one without the other - not if you want a continuously rotating wheel.


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