Saturday 29 September 2018

Johann Bessler and the Orffyreus Code

I’m temporarily recycling a previous post about the Legend of Bessler’s wheel,  because I need to concentrate on finishing my own attempted reconstruction of his machine.

At my age I find time seems to be accelerating and weeks shoot past and I seem to have accomplished very little.  I am determined to finish it really soon so I can prove to myself, at least, that I am right and that there are sufficient clues from Bessler to permit anyone to build his wheel. Success would mean that the design I’m working on would match his, which I know many people doubt is possible.  Obviously I will post the information here first, if it works - or even if it doesn’t.

Please feel free to comment if you wish and I will try to check back daily.

So here it is again, the Legend of Bessler's wheel.

On 6th June, 1712, in Germany, Johann Bessler (also known by his pseudonym, Orffyreus) announced that after many years of failure, he had succeeded in designing and building a perpetual motion machine.  For more than fourteen years he exhibited his machine and allowed people to thoroughly examine it.  Following advice from the famous scientist, Gottfried Leibniz, he devised a number of demonstrations and tests designed to prove the validity of his machine without giving away the secret of its design.

After more than thirty years he died in poverty.  He had asked for a huge sum of money for the secret, £20,000 which was an amount only affordable by kings and princes, and although many were interested, none were prepared to agree to the terms of the deal. Bessler required that he be given the money and the buyer take the machine without verifying that it worked.  Those who sought to purchase the wheel, for that was the form the machine took, insisted that they see the secret mechanism before they parted with the money. Bessler feared that once the design was known the buyers could simply walk away knowing how to build his machine and he would get nothing for his trouble.
This problem was anticipated by Bessler and he took extraordinary measures to ensure that his secret was safe, but he encoded all the information needed to reconstruct the machine in a small number of books that he published. It is well-known that he was prepared to die without selling the secret and that he believed that post humus acknowledgement was preferable to being robbed of his secret while he yet lived.

I became curious about the legend of Bessler’s Wheel, while still in my teens, and have spent most of my life researching the life of Johann Bessler (I’m now 72).  I obtained copies of all his books and had them translated into English and self-published them, in the hope that either myself or someone else might solve the secret and present it to the world in this time of pollution, global warming and increasingly limited energy resources.

It has recently become clear that Bessler had a huge knowledge of the history of codes and adopted several completely different ones to disguise information within his publications.  I have made considerable advances in deciphering one of his codes; the simplest one, and I am confident that I have the complete design.  Due to unfortunate family circumstances I am currently unable to complete the build I have undertaken but shall return to it as soon as possible and I sincerely believe that 2018 will see the reconstruction of Bessler’s wheel.

Johann Bessler published three books, and digital copies of these with English translations may be obtained from the links to the right of this blog.  In addition there is a copy of his unpublished document containing some 141 drawings - and my own account of Bessler’s life is also available from the links.  It is called "Perpetual Motion; An Ancient Mystery Solved?"  Bessler published three books; "Grundlicher Bericht", "Apologia Poetica" and "Das Triumphirende..."

I have also published Bessler's collection of 141 drawings and I have called it Maschinen Tractate, but it was originally found in the form of a number drawings of perpetual motion designs. Many of these have handwritten notes attached and I have published the best English translation of them that I was able to get. Bessler never published these drawings but clearly intended to do so at some point.

For some ideas about Bessler’s code why not visit one of my web sites at
One last thing.  Perpetual Motion machines have been utterly proscribed and Johann Bessler’s claims ridiculed - however, it seems that more than a handful of scientists have now come to the conclusion that it might theoretically be possible to design a mechanical system which is continuously out-of-balance and therefore will turn continuously using the repeated fall of weights for energy.  Gravity but not directly.  These open-minded people remain tight lipped for now, awaiting proof of their hypothesis.


Friday 21 September 2018

Gottfried Bessler, a little speculation.

Following up my previous post, I’ve received a couple of emails pointing out that Gottfried Bessler, Johann’s brother, might be another potential source of information about Bessler’s wheel.  It seems to me that he could have had some knowledge of the machine’s construction, if so, its possible that he could  have passed it onto his children at some point.

Bessler says he first obtained assistance from a relative called Bessler, who worked as an artist, organ maker and turner.  In Johann Bessler’s account of Christian Wagner’s unscheduled examination of the wheel, which happened when Bessler had fallen and injured his head, he says that Gottfried allowed Wagner and Borlach to view and test the wheel. It seems safe to assume that he was referring to Gottfried when he called him his relative, and on the occasion of Wagner's visit, the original German refers to his assistant as “mein Matz” which has numerous meanings, but the most likely is “my little brother/toddler/squirt” etc.  In other words, a term of affection.  We know therefore, that Gottfried was his assistant from the beginning.

To show the wheel to the visitors, Gottfried must have had access to the machine.  As Johann was unwell and confined to his bed, the only way his brother was able to show Wagner and Borlach the wheel turning, was if he borrowed a key to get into the room containing the wheel - or he customarily had access to it anyway.

It seems unlikely that Gottfried could have assisted Bessler for two or three years without learning somethings about the wheel.  So if Gottfried knew how the wheel worked he probably had to swear on oath never to reveal it, and we know Bessler often used oaths to secure silence.  I imagine he might have been overawed by Johann enough to obey him. He was some eight years younger than his brother, about twenty-two or so and probably, happy to oblige his far more charismatic older brother.

But it is possible that he passed on what knowledge he had to his children, perhaps after Johann died. Unfortunately I don’t know if he had any, but I have contacted my source to see if he has any relevant information, but a brief search of various lists on line does not seem to help identify which of the many Besslers is the right one, if any of them are.  it is fairly certain that the information is available, but it may take a while to find it.

We know that apart from a brief visit to London, he lived most of the remainder of his life with Johann and their parents in, at first Kassel, and subsequently in Carlshafen.

There is one small detail which might be completely innocent, or it might be a hint at something of interest to Øystein? At one point in Apologia Poetica, Bessler makes reference to his blue-apron’d assistant,  which we know referred to Gottfried.   I did some research into the use of the term during Bessler’s era and there are references to Free Masons and their use of aprons and in particular, blue ones.  I’m not saying this is conclusive, merely possibly suggestive of a link.  It may also refer to apprentices, which of course also links to Free Masons, but also to indentured apprenticeships.

Blue aprons in modern times are closely linked to chefs  who wear them while learning to cook, and it is difficult to eliminate that relation from the one we seek which was evident over 300 years ago.


Tuesday 11 September 2018

Johann Bessler's Family and his descendants?

Someone recently mentioned the possibility that there might be a living descendent of Bessler's who might have inherited some information about the wheel.  I'm not convinced that there is a chance that this might be possible, but I don't like to rule it out. So what follows is the only information I have to date on his parents, brother, wives and children. It may be that someone might be more familiar with ancestry research than I, and find the limited information below of use in their research.
Elias Bessler, (he assumed the other names Johann Ernst at a later date) was the son of the day-labourer Andreas Bessler, and his wife Maria, née  Maucke.  He was baptised in Zittau on 6th May 1681; his parents having been married in Zittau on 11th February 1680.   Customarily, baptism took place no more than three days after birth.

His brother, Gottfried, was baptised in Zittau on 26th May 1688.  There were three other children who all died early or were still born.

Dr. Christian Schumann, the mayor and physician of Annaberg,was persuaded to ask  Bessler to heal his desperately ill daughter. The girl recovered and became Orffyreus’s wife.  Her name was Barbara Elisabeth Bessler née Schumann.  She died 10.05.1726 at the age of 40 from tuberculosis 

Bessler had four children with Barbara Schumann, they were;

1. Name unknown, died before 1726.

2. Maria Barbara Elisabeth, born 5.1.23, married George Conrad Gercke in 1735.  He was a widowed preacher.

3. Johanna Maria Christina, born 9.12.23, died 4.2.24 - aged just three weeks.

4. Carl Friedrich, born 6.10.25. His Godfather was the Landgrave, but he wasn't present at the baptizing. Died 5.5.26  aged seven months.

Infant mortality rate was high in those days regardless of class.  Karl and his wife Amelie, had
seventeen children, fourteen of whom lived long enough to have names, but only nine reached twenty years of age or more. 
On January 31st in 1731 Orffyreus married Catharina Elisabeth Krone (born in 1713)
They had five children only one of which survived to below

1. Johanna Magdalena Elisabeth, born 6.4.31

2. Johanna Wohlradina [very strange name] Sybilla, born 15.7.34, died 16.09.43

3. Catharina Conradina 30.10.37

4. Magdalena Catharina, 25.11.39

5 Margaretha Maria, 25.7.45, married Amtmann Kurtzbube in Fürstenberg.

Catharina Elisabeth Krone was the daughter of Castle blacksmith, Johann Adam Krone, who died 14.6.50 in the age of 76.

Besslers father, Andreas, died 19.6.27 in the age of 87, he lived with Bessler for his remailng years as did his mother, Maria.

His brother Gottfried, died 3.5.65 and was buried  in "Orffyreischen Begräbnishaus" (Bessler's crypt) 

'docfeelsgood', a well known and respected forum member of Besslerwheel forum, sadly no longer with us, was convinced that the court blacksmith, Adam Krone might have passed on the secret of the wheel's construction to his children because there is a letter in which, in return for his daugjhter's hand in marriage, Bessler would share everything about his wheel.  There is no evidence that he did so, but just in case there is such a possibility the only potential source might be Margaretha Maria, who married Amtmann Kurtzbube in Fürstenberg.  I do not know whether Adam krone had any other children, but that is also a possble avenue of research.

I think the following explains that 'Amtmann' is a title. ' 

The Amtmann was usually a member of the nobility or a cleric. In towns, he was also often a member of the wealthy classes amongst the citizenship. He resided in an Amthaus or Amtshaus and collected taxes from the district (Amtsbezirk), administered justice and maintained law and order with a small, armed unit.  [wikipedia]

Alternatively a search for any descendants of his first daughter’s marriage to George Conrad Gercke might be worth researching.

Good luck to anyone who wishes to take on this task, please share anything you discover even if it results in a dead end.

EDIT - Some additional informationhas come in from a similar post I made on BW forum.  'Helmholtz' posted the  following.

"1. There was another daughter called Dorothea Christina Sophie who married Emanuel Christian Wolff.
2. One of her sisters married Johann Georg Musi, Hofgeismar, who still lived in 1792.
3. Not Gottfried but his widow died in 1765 and was burried in Carlshaven. I think it would be more interesting if one could trace Gottfried, not Crone, because Gottfried was familiar to Bessler, not Crone.

It was one of Besslers "Privilegia" that he himself as well as his descendants & compagnons should be remitted from paying taxes. When Bessler impregnated Crone's 17-year-old daughter, it might have been a good compensation to call him a compagnon not to share any secrets (why should he?) but the exemption of taxes."


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