Saturday, 9 February 2019
Bessler Really Was Ahead Of His Time.
Johann Bessler invented his perpetual motion machine in 1712. His timing was unfortunate because it had to compete with the beginning of the Steam era. Thomas Newcomen’s engine was so much more powerful and clearly it meshed with the then current understanding of steam in the world of science and it too, surfaced in 1712 too, an unhappy coincidence for Bessler.
The science of steam had a prehistory of successful experiments among whose work Denis Papins stands out. But despite a common curiosity about perpetual motion machines there were no successful demonstration to presage Bessler’s claims. The age of steam arrived and proceeded to develop at an alarming rate.
Once the steam era had developed to the limit of its own technology, the age of the internal combustion engine took over and the power of electricity dawned and between the three of them poor old Bessler's wheel never stood a chance, even if the men of science had accepted it. I suppose I should mention nuclear power here but as we shall see, the earlier three sources of power are nearing the end of their useful life unless a purer cleaner form of energy can be found. The huge effect of pollution from all three resources is considered with some trepidation as global warming begins to make its effect palpable. Continuously more strident calls are being made for a reduction in the producton of pollution, including the invention of ways of dealing with nuclear waste. This is believed to be achievable with the introduction of a clean, alternative energy.
So here we are our tiny niche of Besslerites, believing in his perpetual motion machine, and maybe we have the answer at our finger tips. Whether the solution is found and proven this year or next, it is imminent. Will his 300 year old invention blossom forth introducing a new era of power from the force of gravity, a clean, low technology available in any location around the world? Independant of local conditions, flowing water, the wind, the tides, geothermal or any of the old power sources.
Is this coincidence? If Bessler had not found the solution in 1712, would we have even bothered to search for it today? If his wheel had been sold during Bessler's life would it have had any effect on the development of the burgeoning steam, oil, electricity and nuclear powers? Isn't it perfect timing for the solution to be found now when the world seeks an alternative clean, cheap energy to run all those amazing devices which were the outcome of the three earlier stages of power development?
This whole scenario looks like a long planned series of events which are designed to end with Bessler's gravity wheel, but only after hundreds of years of development of the earlier forms of energy. Would we have got where we are today without the commercial development of steam engines, petrol-driven vehicles, electric trains, ships and aircraft? Perhaps we had to forgo Bessler's dream in order to get to where we are now, before we could take steps to use our discoveries but power them in a different way to bring to a stop global warming?
What of Bessler's final panagyric to his sponsor, Karl, dated 2019, another coincidence? Was it some subconscious nudge to publish something dated 300 years hence? It was not a decision taken with any awareness, just a lucky occurence like many coincidences which litter our lives. How often we note that something almost always insignificant happened and say, "that was lucky!" But sometimes it almost feels as if some guiding hand was at work.
Few people know of an accident I had in my mid twenties when my car's brakes failed and I went over a very steep and high embankment. My car flew through the air before it hit upside down and rolled several times. I was thrown out (pre seat belt days) when the door burst open on the intial impact, and apart from a brief period of unconsciousness I recovered uninjured. My car was not so lucky and was written off. For many months afterwards I felt euphoric due to my amazing escape from what looked like certain death and was convinced I was destined for some important purpose. Perhaps that time has come.
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