It seems as though Johann Bessler had thought long and hard about his gravity-enabled perpetual motion wheel for many years.
He mentioned the bikes and toy spinning tops his father made him when he was four and a half which gave him the greatest joy.
Later as an adult, after returning to Germany, from his journey through England and Ireland, he, “read that a thing to be prized more than a ton of gold would be the invention of a Wheel which could turn of its own accord.”
Then he “visited a monastery where I happened to notice a spit turning, and immediately fell to wondering how it could carry on doing so, seemingly all by itself. It had the power continuously to rotate, like a clock that could wind itself up.”
Later he journeyed “to Prague, and “began as early as my first night there to think of the Primum Mobile. For the vision of the roasting-spit would not leave my mind. I thought it might be possible, on mechanical principles, to devise a better machine, and shut myself up to study the matter.”
He describes his conversations about perpetual motion with the Jesuit priest in Prague and I think that was probably the beginning of his serious search for the solution. He went from there, to visiting various businesses, trying to learn about all the different trades that were practised in those times, with a view to extending his considerable knowledge about how things worked.
It is clear that he had only one objective in mind and devoted himself solely to finding the solution to his perpetual motion machine. He had learned a great deal about codes and ciphers while in Prague and like ourselves, may have considered what to do if and when he had made a working perpetual motion device. Once he had a working model he used some of the codes he had learned, to hide information in his books.
Why hide information in his books? I think one reason was to show that he had found the solution by the date of publication, in case anyone else made a similar claim subsequent to his own. Of course he would need to explain all the clues found in the books, and this might require another book, but it’s more likely he would give some lectures, being something of an actor! He records his success in acting, which was strongly promoted and encouraged by the school’s rector, Christian Weise.
A second reason which he hinted at, was that it would provide a means to obtain acknowledgement and respect after he died. But the codes are so abstruse that it is hard to believe he thought anyone would solve them without additional help. This of course was the plan and no one was meant to solve it during his lifetime. But I don’t think he seriously believed that he wouldn’t sell his machine for the large sum of money he sought. His publications were dated 1715 and 1716, so he was ensuring his priority through the books, and the implied post-mortem recognition, was simply playing to the audience.