Thursday 22 April 2021

Documents re: Johann Bessler aka Orffyreus - Perpetual Motion.

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 now too difficult.  Space to work is non-existent and I am staying with one of my daughters until we have chosen our next house.  This means no workshop until after we have moved!  But at least I will be able to continue my account of the codes and clues I’ve deciphered to date.

The comment facility is open to anyone so if you would like to make a comment please do so.  I may take a little longer to respond due to on-going house moving keeping me pre-occupied.

So in the mean time once more, here are the details about Johann Bessler aka Orffyreus and his amazing Perpetual Motion Machine.  Plus details of how to order his biography and his books which each include English translations.

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.

Not long after I was able to read the English translations of his books, I became convinced that Bessler had embedded a number of clues in his books.  These took the form of hints in the text, but also in a number of drawings he published.  Subsequently I found suggestions by the author that studying his books would reveal more information about his wheel.

For some ideas about Bessler’s code why not visit my web sites or see my work on his “Declaration of Faith at

Also please view my video at
It gives a brief account both the legend and some more detail about some of the codes.

The problem of obtaining a fair reward for all his hard work 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. He implied that he was prepared to die without selling the secret and that he believed that posthumus acknowledgement was preferable to being robbed of his secret while he yet lived.

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 his codes and I am confident that I have the complete design.

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's three published books are entitled "Grundlicher Bericht", "Apologia Poetica" and "Das Triumphirende...". I have called Bessler's collection of 141 drawings Maschinen Tractate, but it was originally found in the form of a number of loosely collected 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 use them in his planned school for apprentices.

You can order copies of the books from my website at
Or from the top of the right side panel under the heading ‘Bessler’s Books’.
There are also links lower down on the right side panel.

As I often say, the solution to this device is needed now.  Anything that might help cleanse the planet of pollution and help to reduce green house gas emissions, by providing a clean cheap alternative energy source should encouraged in its discovery and development to counter global warming.

Here are the drawings from Giuseppe Pelotti:-


Wednesday 14 April 2021

Reviewing the Power of Bessler’s Perpetual Motion Machine

Many people have calculated the potential power of Bessler’s wheel and concluded that it wouldn’t amount to much, however I’m not convinced that this is true.

Consider the 70 lbs chest of stones lifted by the two-way wheels.  If you’ve ever physically lifted a 70 pound weight you’ll have a good idea how very heavy it is.  Most airlines have a limit for passenger luggage of 23 kg, which is 50 lbs; adding another 20 pounds to make 70 lbs would be as much as most people could manage to lift comfortably.  Bessler’s wheel routinely lifted it up and down from the castle yard several feet, probably more than 50 feet.  

Professor Christian Wolff gave an account of his attendance at the Merseburg wheel examination. He wrote;

At the moment it can lift a weight of sixty pounds, but to achieve this the pulley had to be reduced more than four times, making the lifting quite slow."

The official certificate issued, described the weight as being seventy pounds and no mention was made of the four-fold pulley, I wonder if the reason for the use of the pulleys was, as Wolff commented, to slow down the lift to make it last longer, and extend the time of each demonstration. On the other hand the Kassel wheel was actually designed to rotate about half the speed of the Merseburg wheel, because it needed to run for four weeks or more.  It rotated slowly to save wear and tear.  It ran for 54 days before it was stopped.

If we take the Merseburg wheel for example, say the axle was six inches in diameter and the wheel turned at 40 rpm when under load, and the distance from the outside yard to roof, some fifty feet.  The circumference of the axle was close to 19 inches.  With the rope wrapped around the axle, one rotation lifted the chest of stones just over a foot and a half, fifty foot would take just over 30 seconds; not much of a demonstration. Using pulleys to reduce the load would also extend the time to perhaps a couple of minutes, just about long enough for all the spectators, of which there were said to be many crowded into the room, to view the lifting process, through the two windows.

There are several other considerations to bear in mind.  Firstly the demonstrations which showed the lifting task surely required some organising, and someone below in the castle yard to signal the lift could begin, or maybe Bessler had his brother Gottfried watching out of the window to say when the lift could begin. Was there slack in the rope attached to the axle or to chest of stones to reduce the effect of a sudden jerk?  Such a jerk could dismount the wheel from its supports if it was too strong. A rope loosely wrapped around the axle, two or three times would allow the axle to begin to rotate, while slipping the rope. Once the wheel was turning, a gentle pull on the rope would cause it to begin to grip the axle as it turned, thus beginning to wind up the chest of stones. Relaxing the rope as the chest neared the top would be more difficult, but perhaps a brake was applied to bring the wheel to a stop.

The pulleys would make lifting heavy loads easier and last longer. Bessler was a showman, and a slow lift with a very heavy load would be more interesting to the spectators.  It could not be helped if the pulleys conveyed the impression that the wheel was not as powerful as it actually was.  It was showtime and Bessler was a consummate master of ceremonies!


Wednesday 7 April 2021

Johann Bessler’s One-way and Two-Way Wheels.

When Johann Bessler, aka Orffyreus, first demonstrated his perpetual motion machine, he showed that it would begin to rotate as soon as a brake was released. It measured 4.6 feet in diameter and only 4 inches in thickness, and would accelerate up to its maximum speed of about 50 rpm.  Although subsequently he demonstrated much larger wheels which could turn in either direction, they were motionless until they were given a gentle nudge in one direction or the other, at which point they accelerated to their maximum speed in two or three turns.  The instant over-balancing feature of the early wheels indicated that their internal mechanical arrangement was in a state of perpetual imbalance, hence the need to apply a brake and locking attachment.

It has been argued that the wheel was stopped at a certain point at which it was out of balance, but in my opinion this is unlikely.  Witnesses were encouraged to adjust the speed of the wheel by screwing and unscrewing a bolt and I’m sure that some people would have brought the wheel to a full stop or at least slowed it down almost to a stand still.  It would quickly have become obvious if there were any points during rotation where imbalance was not detectable, or to put it another way, they could stop the wheel at a point at which the wheel didn’t continue to rotate. 

Bessler himself described the action within the wheel, as if it was constantly hunting or seeking balance,  but not finding it, and I believe that without this feature perpetual rotation wouldn’t happen.  The later two-way wheels were invented in order to dispose of the suggestion that they were wound up.  Whether or not they were as efficient in their use of the same mechanical advantage as the first two wheels remains to be seen, but they must have been more complex in their internal arrangements and therefore more likely to suffer break-downs.

I have always believed that Bessler sought to make the latter two wheels rotate in either direction by installing a mirrored version of the original wheel.  The idea being that both directions would cancel each other out thus leaving the wheel motionless.  Giving the wheel a nudge would engage which ever drive would propel it in that direction, leaving the alternative drive to either work in reverse, or lock up.

I tested this concept using two Savonius turbines on a single axle but with each designed to turn in opposite directions and I placed them in the path of the wind from a powerful fan, they did indeed spin in opposite directions.  With both turbines on the one axle but now connected to each other neither moved, predictably, but with nudge in one direction, they began to rotate, one forwards and one backwards, but only achieving half the speed of the two disconnected ones.  I have a video of the experiment which I will post when I find it! This supports the conclusion that mirror imaged mechanisms might hold the answer to the two-way wheels.

I know that other people don’t accept the mirror image design, speculating on a few alternatives, but I think this principle is something that would occur to Bessler first of all; two wheels on one axle each designed to turn the opposite way, but linked together.

Alternative  ways of producing wheels which turned in either direction required some kind of mechanism designed to make the internal mechanism change direction and I think this would be difficult to achieve, especially as there are no reports of Bessler operating some kind of lever to engage or disengage the internal mechanism.  Reports just say that the same technique of gently starting the wheel in a desired direction worked equally well for each direction. This leaves just an automated reaction to the change of direction of the wheel.  This in my opinion complicates the mechanism too much.

I know many people are working on the idea that there were about eight sounds being emitted from the side of the wheel towards which the wheel turned.  This sound was described as a “weight landing gently”, but what ever the cause of this sound, it was only with reference to the two-way wheel, and not the earlier one-way wheels.  I have asked the following question many times without ever receiving a simple logical explanation. “Why try to build Bessler’s two-way wheel, which are likely to be more complex than the one-way ones? The eight sounds of weights applied to the two-way wheels, but I know some are incorporating the eight sounds into their one-way wheels and that seems to me equally inexplicable.

Finally I have also reminded people that Bessler admitted that he had on previous occasions muffled the sounds coming from the wheels obviously with the intent to confuse or deceive the impressions of the design of the mechanisms within the wheel to the audience.  The same technique could have been applied to the two-way wheel. Added to this we should not rule out additional sounds made by extra weights installed to further confuse.

But in the end I know almost everyone has their own ideas about Bessler’s wheels and I just hope someone proves to be right and soon - I just need to know how he did it!


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