When Bessler set out to discover how to design and build a Perpetual Motion (PM) machine, he had read that such a device would be ‘worth a ton of gold’. But during the long years of research he also spent time considering how to actually obtain a large amount of money for the secret of his machine, should he be successful - sound familiar?
This explains his decision to place coded information about the wheel in his books, long before he decided to allow Karl to see how his wheel worked, and why he put so much time and effort into developing and inserting his coded information, even though subsequently he had his claim validated by Karl. He seems to have considered the possibility that he might never sell his machine and thus die without ever receiving acknowledgement for his achievement, so it had an additional purpose although not one he would have expected to happen.
The puzzle remains, why bother with such a devious code? I have suggested that he needed some way of proving that he had found the secret by the date of publication of Apologia Poetica, but this leads to a further confusion. On the one hand he might not have been allowed to release information about his device once he had sold it, if that was the buyer’s instruction, but in that case he couldn’t reveal the code. If the buyer was open to Bessler sharing his secret, then the codes wasn’t needed anyway. But perhaps the last possibility seems be the right one; if the wheel hadn’t been sold and another inventor claimed to have succeeded, then Bessler would reveal the means of deciphering the code embedded in the dated book, thus proving his priority.
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