I’m currently getting ready to move house again so finding time to write my blogs and complete my work on Bessler’s wheel, is not so easy. Space to work in is limited and although we expect to be out of this house by the end of March, I will then be staying with one of my daughters until we have chosen our next house. This means no workshop until after we have moved! In which case I’m trying to finish construction in the next four or five weeks! So in the mean time here are the details about Bessler aka Orffyreus.......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, who was able to examine the device, he devised a number of demonstrations and tests designed to prove the validity of his machine without giving away the secret of its design.
Karl the Landgrave of Hesse permitted Bessler to live, work and exhibit his machine at the prince's castle of Weissenstein. Karl was a man of unimpeachable reputation and he insisted on being allowed to verify the inventor's claims before he allowed Bessler to take up residence. This the inventor reluctantly agreed to and once he had examined the machine to his own satisfaction Karl authorised the publication of his approval of the machine. For several years Bessler was visited by numerous people of varying status, scientists, ministers and royalty. Several official examinations were carried out and each time the examiners concluded that the inventor's claims were genuine.
Over several years Karl aged and it was decided that the inventor should leave the castle and he was granted accommodation in the nearby town of Karlshafen. Despite the strong circumstantial evidence that his machine was genuine, Bessler failed to secure a sale and after more than thirty years he died in poverty. His death came after he fell from a windmill he had been commissioned to build. The windmill was an interesting design using a vertical axle which allowed it to benefit from winds from any directions.
He had asked for a huge sum of money for the secret of his perpetual motion machine, £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 viewing the internal workings. 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.
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 76). 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.