After doing this blog for eleven years and a month it’s sometimes difficult to know what to write so there may be the occasional random content - like this one!
2) Another thing that has cropped up recently is the question of where did Bessler's death originate? Some thought that I was the source but on March 20th 1992, several years before I began to write my history of Bessler's wheel, a German local newspaper published details about a project to spend money on refurbishing Bessler's ruined windmill, from which they reported he had fallen to his death. They planned to make it into a tourist attraction.
The article appeared in the 'Neue Westfalische, Nr. 68, Freitas, 20, Mars 1992'. Although I think the page in question could be obtained online even now, (was unable to see that particular page even though I found the newspaper in question). Below I have included a very bad photocopy which was sent to me at the time and above it is a photo I took of the windmill from a similar position, so that you can confirm that it is the same building.
The headline in English reads 'Millions for Fairy tale and Legendary Mill'. The article is very long so have only quoted from the relevant text, 'Here originated a two story, half-timbered building with massive stone walls. The roof and interior came to nothing as the builder, Orffyreus fell to his death from the walls.'
In addition to the above, Rupert Gould, whose 1944 book 'Oddities' first informed about Johann Bessler's wheel also described Bessler's fall to his death. He wrote 'Bessler died in 1745, aged sixty-five, when he fell to his death from a four and a half story windmill he was constructing in Fürstenberg'.
'Rupert T. Gould, "Orffyreus's Wheel," in Oddities: A Book of Unexplained Facts, revised ed., (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1944), pp. 89-116. Reprinted by Kessinger Pub Co., 2003, ISBN 978-0-7661-3620-5.'
The windmill restoration was budgeted for and the local authority planned to translate my book into German and place it in the tourist office at Fürstenberg. Unfortunately the restoration and the translation of my book never happened due to “budgetary pressures”. You can see more photos of the old windmill at my web site at www.orffyreus.org
3) During my research I came across a large format book containing among other things photographs of items in the Kassel museum. The creation of the item below was ascribed to Johann Bessler and a date was provided, 1721. This particular device was not something we usually associate with Bessler but given his wide experience and unique number of manufacturing skills it is easy to imagine he was able to produce this device, but whether he also made the beautiful box containing the device is not stated.
4) A slightly oddball character called J.C.F. Von Hatzfeld had offered several designs for perpetual motion machines to both the Royal Society and to Sir Isaac Newton directly. Mostly they ignored him and Newton didn’t even acknowledge the letter although it resides in the records. Von Harzfeld was persistent but he was treated as if he were little more than annoying insect buzzing around the heads of these important people. I thought I’d post one of his designs dated 1725, not that I think it has merit, but you can assume that this topic of conversation was very much in the news at the time. Von Hatzfeld mentioned Orffyreus several times in his previous correspondence which didn’t endear him to his recipients