Friday 30 November 2018

Today, 30th November,1745, Johann Bessler Fell to his Death.

Johann Bessler stood on the top of his latest project, a huge windmill designed to grind corn in the village of Fürstenberg. The windmill was of an unusual design, having a vertical axis which meant it could turn in the wind regardless of which direction the wind came from.

It was designed to be supported on a massive lower structure and although it was never finished it was expected to rise some 50 feet in height.  Unfortunately for Bessler, the committee who requisitioned the device insisted that it must be built on the lower levels of the hillside within the village itself.  This position was too sheltered according to Bessler and he argued that it should be positioned on top of the hill where it could take advantage of the winds which blew more strongly and consistently.  But the local authority insisted and Bessler complied.              see interior and exterior photos, and floor plan

Bessler was struggling to finance the build and despite frequent letters to the council leaders for more building materials, as well as additional funding, little help was forthcoming.  Some letters he wrote have survived and it clear from them that he was regarded as something of a nuisance and his employers were unwilling to put themselves out on his behalf.

On November 30th, 1745, Johann Bessler fell to his death from the top of the half-built windmill. We know that he and his family were starving and cold.  It was late in the year and the prospects of completing his windmill looked increasingly poor and even if he had managed to complete, his own opinion was that it might not have been as effective in the milder winds in the village.

I visited the small town of  Fürstenberg in2002 and was able to visit the windmill.  It has survived ‘til now because of the huge sandstone blocks used to construct the walls.  There is little if anything left, of Bessler’s work inside although the external features are obviously according to his design. Subsequent to his death the windmill was provided as a home for the new porcelain industry which had its beginnings then.  The town of  Fürstenberg became famous for the quality of its porcelain which it has been producing since 1747.

We can gain some idea of Bessler's predicament through this short extract from a letter he wrote  to his superior just seven months before his death;

      "I have written often and many times to you, Highly Honourable Sire, but I have not received any answer.  Meanwhile, I lack strength and will, through hunger, grief, frost and chill, because for a long time I have not received a single piece of wood from the District Magistrate.  Indeed, I have often had only dry bread to eat and water to drink.  However, at last, thank God, I have had the good luck to finish preparing the model of perpetual motion which was commissioned from England, as demanded by the Senior District Magistrate, von Mannsberg.  It was ready at midnight on April 14th, "

Notice that he  had finished a model of his perpeual motion machine (italicised in the above quote).  The model was commissioned by his landlord, Baron Anton von Mansberg, a senior member of King George's cabinet and resident in London. Unfortunately any plans von Mannsberg might have had to examine Bessler's machine were doomed by the fact that all government officials were forbidden or strongly advised not travel to the continent.  This was during 1745 and for a couple of years after, due to the threat of invasion of England by France, on behalf of the Jacobite rebellion.  By the time that danger had passed Johann Bessler had died and his machine was lost to us.

I wonder what might have happened if the Jacobites had not prevented von Mansberg's return to his home and he had been able to carry out a thorough examination of Bessler's wheel.  He was a wealthy man and held a powerfu position within the government and he was also a member of the Royal Society.  If he had become convinced of Bessler's sincerity a deal might have been struck and a gradual spread of sales of the machine, similar to the way the use of Thomas Newcomen's engine spread, might nhave happened.  Newcomen'sengines sprouted out all over Great Britain and Europe and I could see something similar happening if Bessler's wheel had been sold.  A greater expansion than Newcomen's engine might have happened because of the complexity of the Newcomen engine when compared to Bessler's wheel.

Might not this have affected our modern lives in many ways? One thinks of pollution and global warming etc,. usually blamed on the burning of fossil fuels.


Sunday 25 November 2018

Do We Really Need to Break the Laws of Physics?

It has often been suggested that in order for Bessler's wheel to work, the design must break the laws of physics.

Firstly, if we believe Bessler told the truth then we must seek the solution so that  we can reconstruct his wheel.  The prize for humanity is incalculable, reducing dependence  on fossil fuels, pollution from the burning of fossil fuels; provision of a free source of energy; warmth for cold climates, air conditioning for hot climates; irrigation for desert regions and reduction of transportation costs by land and sea, to name but a few.

Do we honestly believe that Bessler’s wheel worked in some mysterious way which somehow not only broke the established laws of physics, but did so with impunity?  The so-called “Laws”  are conclusions based on repeated scientific experiments and observation over many years which have become accepted universally within the scientific community.  We must accept that however unlikely it may seem, his wheel worked according to long established principles.

Just because our calculations appear to rule out any possibility of any of the laws of physics permitting such a device to work, does not mean that we have thought of every angle, point of view or approach that might resolve this apparent paradox.

But it is only a paradox if we continue to say that Bessler's wheel  cannot work because it would defy some physical law.  Obviously it didn't and we know it worked, therefore we are missing something.  What ever that something is, it is very simple and easy to understand, because Karl the Landgrave stated as much.


Sunday 18 November 2018

1969 to Present - Where Has The Time Gone?

Aged about fifteen, I wandered into the school library one cold, damp afternoon, bored and looking for something interesting to read, not really expecting to find anything but always hopeful.  I found this dusty old book entitled ‘Oddities’, and leafed through it in a kind of disinterested way.  About a hour later I suddenly remembered where I was and what I should be doing!  I grabbed the book and headed out, having already decided that I must finish the book.

The book was by Lieutenant Rupert T. Gould, well-known for his books on unexplained facts.  He was also an expert restorer of marine chronometers, the most famous being those invented by John Harrison, the man who solved the problem of finding a ship’s longitudinal position at sea.  Harrison won the famous British Board of Longitude prize of £20,000 - the same amount of money sought by Johann Bessler for the secret of his perpetual motion machine.  The reward was offered by the British Government through the 1714 Longitude Act which was the first time the government used legislation to address a specific scientific problem.

Gould included an account of ‘The Wheel of Orffyreus’, which, since those long ago days, I have come to realise, is the best account of Bessler’s wheel, (up to my own, of course!)  My own research confirmed everything he wrote about, but of course, back in 1930, he did not have the tools for research that we have now. Gould described the accusations Bessler’s maid fabricated against him and it was in her description of how she was made to turn the wheel that I first saw a glimmer of light, which I latterly understood to be proof that she lied.  It was that tiny crack in the wall of professional scepticism by the members of the elite scientific, rich and powerful men of those days that allowed me to see an alternative to the narrative that had sealed Bessler’s fate and perpetuated the idea that he was a criminal.

That brief sudden moment of clarity engendered by the impossibility of the maid’s claims against Bessler remained with me for several years until I realised I would get no resolution to my concerns until I had either tried to build a perpetual motion machine myself, or tried to find out more about Johann Bessler.

The first research involved obtaining as much information as possible from the British Museum Library, including some of Bessler’s original publications and other documents referring or relating to him.  The immediate problem confronting me was that I had no German, neither the modern kind nor the 300 year old kind.  Unphased by this seemingly insurmountable problem at the naive age of about 24, I wrote a letter to a local paper requesting assistance of anyone prepared to translate some old German documents free of charge.  Amazingly I received offers of help from six or seven people.  I settled on one man, Mike Senior, who became a life long friend but who, sadly, passed away a couple of years ago.  He was an ex-school teacher who left because he complained the kids didn't want to learn.  He had degrees in 18th C German, classic Greek and Latin plus Astrophysics and Botany!  He was a regular contributer to various  scholarly magazines and had solutions to some of the most complex  puzzles particularly those of a mathematical nature. Everything of Bessler’s which I have published was translated by Mike, other than the notes accompanying Maschinen Tractate which accomplished by fellow researcher from the USA.

I would say that since the age of 24 I have been involved in Bessler research and as I will be 74, next year, that is approaching 50 years.  I have constructed countless models each built in the hope that it would spin continuously driven purely by the force of gravity causing the falling of weights inside the wheel. Have I ever felt like giving up?  No, never because I know Bessler succeeded and it is therefore possible.

The concept is simple and Karl the Landgrave was surprised no-one had thought of it before, so it s only a matter of time.  I would have thought 50 years was time enough!

It's only been during the last three or four years that I have begun to understand how he did it, but even then it has been a hard fought battle to find some of his clues and work them out, and correct the false first impressions I got. So far all those clues found and interpreted by many people do not seem to have any relevance to a solution and only time will tell if mine are any better.   So next year?  I've lost count of the times I've suggested that, but confidence is high!


Saturday 10 November 2018

My Wheel is Still a Work in Progress.

I often get emails asking me how my own build is going and when do I expect to finish it.  I have corresponded with some writers to discuss these and other points they raised and have tried to answer them as best I can without giving anything away;  and that particular point is frequently criticised!

I have claimed during the last couple of years or so,  that I know how Bessler’s wheel worked and that I’m building a prototype, but some people complain that I should wait no longer but immediately publish what I know now, in case something should happen to me before the information is released. They also accuse me of being selfish by not sharing this information.

Fine, I admit to being selfish.  I do want to be the first since Johann Bessler to demonstrate his wheel by showing a working model.  I do want to be acknowledged as the discoverer of his secret.  But I also believe that the majority of people researching this subject share the same desire, but even so, I would be content if someone else should succeed before me, either with a working model or a set of instructions showing how it worked.  In the end it’s important that this technology is released to the world.  And that brings me to my other response to the criticism that the information might be lost if I should depart this life before I had completed my build.  I have almost completed a full account of the information required to build Bessler’s wheel and I am currently engaged in making sure that the information is released in the event of my early demise.

I once (or twice!) published the claim that I knew how Bessler’s wheel worked  on some forums and got told to publish or shut up.  I realised how very irritating it is when people say that and keep the information to themselves.  So why am I doing it here and now?  It’s part of a response to many people who have emailed me with several questions.  It’s also because, as someone pointed out, this is my space.and I can write what I like, but to do so on public spaces not under my jurisdiction is rude, ill-mannered and breaks the rules of etiquette.  I don't know if that's true but I'll abide by the advice.

My wheel progresses slowly for several reasons.  Family illnesses intrude taking up time I could  use building, but my family comes first.  I have made some changes in the material I used to make the mechanisms. Initially I always used mild steel strips and they were predrilled with a number of holes not unlike meccano, but the thin strips of the steel I subsequently bought were still too thick, not for the actual mechanism to work but because there are are close to one hundred holes to be drilled and each one was taking too long to drill through and the drill bits were becoming blunt and the holes off centre etc, etc.  I subsequently tried using styrene but that was also unsuitable. So I’m back to using aluminium, but initially I could not find any which was both thin enough and narrow enough for my purposes.  Finally I found a source, so I shall continue to work on it as and when I can.

You would think that after so many years of building these wheels that I would be highly organised and not suffer from such basic problems, but I had been using the same raw material for many years, cannibalising former builds to save time and expense.  When the time came and I was 100 per cent positive that I had the correct design on paper I thought it right to use new untainted material for my final prototype!

One more thing which is a follow-up to my previous blog, someone emailed me about how to proceed when a wheel is found to work and they suggested using monetised YouTube and pointing me towards some information about potential income. It was suggested that the successful wheel-maker could place a video of his wheel and earn a fortune. But I think that those days when some people were earning more than 10 million dollars are over because regulation has been tightened up and the big advertisers who used to place ads are stopping because their ads sometimes appeared along side videos.they felt were unsuitable for their image.  I guess the time to look into that is when you have a working model - and a video of it.


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