Wednesday 22 March 2023

Numerology - Art or Science?

I’m not a numerologist nor a code expert, and even though I know Bessler practised alphanumerics, the Caesar Shift and other similar versions of it, as well as chronograms and a variety of ways of disguising information, I have managed to extract some useful information. But until I can prove it is correct it’s still just speculation.

It seems obvious that Johann Bessler hoped at some point, after his death, that people might be intrigued enough to study his books and try to extract the hidden information. Well I’ve tried, as have many people from around the world, but so far without success. For me, success would be the publication of an explanation of how his wheel worked plus a high quality video, a verifiable and repeatable simulation and most importantly a working model. So far no claimants.

One of the results of all the information so far gleaned from the legend of Bessler’s wheel, has been an upsurge in spurious speculation. Numerology for instance, I read that it “is the belief in an occult, divine or mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events. It is also the study of the numerical value, via an alphanumeric system, of the letters in words and names. When numerology is applied to a person's name, it is a form of onomancy.”

For example,“ onomancy is an old-fashioned kind of fortune telling based on a person's name. If three women with the same name sit at a table, one of them will be married within the year. Believe it or not, that's onomancy. The belief in a connection between luck and a person's name is an old one.”   

Do I read my horoscope?  Not for about 50 years!  To believe that the motion of the stars can affect a person’s life is nonsense and to assign meaning to significant numbers which you can relate to people’s names is equally a waste of time.  

On the other hand if it can be shown that Bessler used alphabetic substitution, alphanumerics and chronograms to hide useful information, that in itself doesn’t mean that he believed in the original purpose of such beliefs.  All it tells us is that he used an existing system to hide information.  Those beliefs offered a readymade system for him to adapt to his own purposes.  One unfortunate effect of this is that others who practise numerology for instance, search for examples of the belief in Bessler’s works, and finding certain coincidental numbers which they then apply according to the rules of numerology, and pronounce their findings accordingly. To me this too, is meaningless.

I have always believed that it is easy enough to make an argument for a certain conclusion by looking for certain numbers, manipulating them according to procedures laid down in the rules, and present one’s conclusions.  The numbers appear to be very elementary and ways of finding them and making one’s calculations, absurdly simple.  As you may be able to tell, I don’t believe in foretelling the future in this or any other way.  

However I do believe that Bessler hid a lot of information in letters, numbers and drawings, and as many who come here will know, I have many significant examples of this.

Having said all this I do enjoy some of the posts detailing the examples of the numerologist’s art particularly when their conclusions appear so apposite, but in my opinion there is neither use nor value in them, other than as a form of entertainment. If somehow an expert in numerology could make some predictions that could be checked and verified, that would go someway towards reducing my opposition to this belief system. 

One thing has always guided me in presenting information about Johann Bessler and that was to try to base it on documentary evidence.  If I speculated about anything I tried to make it clear that it was my personal opinion and unsubstantiated.

This subject matter relies heavily on documentary evidence and even circumstantial evidence should be clearly identified.

It is therefore with much regret that I’m going to have to do something to stop people making comments that have no documented evidence to support them and which are presented as fact, when they are personal opinions.

I can’t make it a feature of this blog to require people to sign in, for some reason it’s not possible, which leaves me with two options.  Either I stop allowing comments, or I systematically delete all offending comments.

The latter does not appeal, so I will be closing the comments very soon.  If those who continue to post comments in support of Ken B’s completely absurd notions wish for the comments be allowed to continue, perhaps they would consider removing them selves from this blog permanently so the rest of us can continue to discuss Bessler in a reasonable manner.


Sunday 12 March 2023

The Legend of Johann Bessler’s Perpetual Motion Machine

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 the outside of it, but it’s internal workings were kept hidden. This was because the inventor feared that his design would be copied and someone else might obtain credit for all his years of hard work looking for the solution. He followed the advice from the famous scientist, Gottfried Leibniz, who was able to examine the device, and recommended 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 a number of years Karl aged and it was decided that after so long it was time the inventor left 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 thought 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 before the buyer was allowed to view the internal workings of the machine. But 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 77). 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 and 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 at 

Take a look at 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 posthumous 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?" 

This biography contains a wealth of information about Bessler himself, as well as many quotes by Bessler and letters to him or about him from many interested parties. It tells of his life up to and including his years with Karl the Landgrave of Hesse Kassel, and what happened to him later.

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 

Printed books direct from the printer can be obtained from here

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.

These books contain the most important information available if you seek to find the solution to Bessler’s wheel.


Update - Where Next? A Sim? A Book?

I was getting ready to share more information but I have decided to hold back a bit longer until a sim has been successfully completed.  

The reason for this decision lies in the total lack of any sensible critical response to what I’ve posted.  My posts contain information which will lead to a successful working wheel and I’m confident that either myself or some other will succeed using the information I’ve supplied so far.  The important information which I will share once the sim has been tested includes the prime mover without which the wheel would quickly come to a stop. 

I know that my belief that Bessler’s wheel requires five, seven or nine mechanisms to work, is dismissed, but seeing as an even number of mechanisms has so far completely failed to lead to success, maybe it’s time someone looked at a mechanical arrangement combining an odd number of mechanisms in which two adjacent mechanisms work together to achieve what no other configuration has - other than Johann Bessler’s 

I’m constantly amazed that despite the ubiquity of Bessler’s references to the number 5 and 55, including changing his name to accommodate the number, that the importance of this number is dismissed, ignored or just overlooked.

I shouldn’t have assumed that people would accept my interpretation of the clues without the full background.  This allowed the clues I found and interpreted correctly to be dismissed, discounted and unproven. I was trying to save space and avoid long pages of texts and numerous illustrations, but as someone commented, it was wrong to think I should complete and publish a book explaining everything, as well as explaining it all in a blog - and if possible build a working model too.

Ken took the book route but failed to persuade anyone of the truth of his clues and interpretations; I don’t want to follow in his footsteps by producing a book with no evidence that it is correct, so a sim and a working wheel will follow as soon as possible.

I will just say this once more: when you see the explanation I’m certain you will understand immediately how and why it works - and why I’m so confident.

In the meantime I will continue to post this blog with a mixture of details of my progress, details of Bessler’s books and reminders of my clues which have the correct interpretations.


Friday 3 March 2023

Sharing Information - Part One

1) As planned I’m sharing information both here and on the forum Besslerwheel forum . So here is the first part. All of the clues originate from the drawings and text in Grundlicher Bericht, Apologia Poetica, Das Triumphirende and Maschinen Tractate. I will try to keep the details brief and to the point so I won’t be showing where and how I obtained the answers but you can probably work out some of them.

Most people are aware of the ubiquity of the number 5 encoded in all of Bessler's publications and many don't see any significance other than perhaps a nod to some kind of mystery school teaching designed to hint at the inventor's knowledge of ancient wisdom. I don't believe that theory, I'm convinced that Bessler was passing on information.

I have always thought that there were two hard facts established about the internal workings of Bessler's wheel and one of them was that there were five mechanisms. The other was that the weights worked in pairs. All else is open to conjecture. But one certainty is that Bessler thought that this piece of information was extremely important and even encoded it in his name right from the moment he adopted the pseudonym, Orffyreus.

I’m well aware that many people dismiss my belief that Bessler used five mechanisms in his wheel but in fact I would go further than that and state that he designed wheels which all had an odd number of mechanism.  In [i]Maschinen Tractate (MT)[/i] he suggested this with the following number system, see below:-

He identifies the odd numbers as you see by placing a ‘Z’ next to the odd numbers to provide a clue.  There are other clues offering the same information that he used  5, 7 and 9 mechanisms.

The plethora of references to the number five also include a number of pointers to the pentagram.  The geometric figure is embedded in many drawings and I’ll show one below.  Bessler was familiar with the books by Euclid and in this case he referred to Euclid’s 11th proposition, which ran thus::-

“To inscribe an equilateral and equiangular pentagon in a given circle….”

In the above illustration A to C is what I call the ‘rope line’ on Bessler’s illustration  of the Merseburg wheel.  The ‘padlock line’ is the line from  C to the middle of CD. This mimics Euclid’s construction. Measure the angle CAD on Weissenstein illustration, it is 36 degrees. This is composed of the two 18 degrees angles.  The angles at C and D  are each 72 degrees. Note they align with the hatching lines on Bessler’s illustration.

The fact that the wheel includes such a clear link to Euclid’s pentagram construction confirms its presence is deliberate.

To make the point, here are three ways of confirming the pentagram within the Apologia Wheel.

….and his alternative method, and note how the red and blue lines are designed to skim the edges
 of the two inner circles.  Finally the white angles are 24 degrees.  24 x 3 = 72,  5 x 72 = 360.  

There is another clue in the chronograms above this wheel which points to the number 55.

2) Another of Bessler’s way of showing the importance of two number 5’s as a pair is revealed in the illustration below. 

JEEB, (his initials), J is the 10th letter, two letters E, which are the 5th letter.  He added the J and one of the Es to his forename when he succeeded in building his first PM wheel. J represents double 5, underlined by two 5’s as letter E.

JEEB using the Caesar shift becomes WRRO.  R is the 18th letter.  W 23rd letter which may only be there for the following reason, W is composed of two Roman numerals, V meaning 5.

He often, (dozens of times) hand wrote the letter W as shown below, as two Roman numerals linked together, and you can see it twice in the accompanying passage.  They are linked to point to them as pairing, but not in the same 5th segment of the wheel.

Bessler used any opportunity to put a veiled reference to these numbers.  I should also point out that the 2G’s, refers to his enemy in chief Andreas  Gärtner.  The 2 W’s refers to another enemy, Christian Wagner, the two B’s refer to the third enemy, Johann Gottfried Borlach.

3)  Although I’ve discussed the Toys page several times I’ll briefly run through some things again because they are relevant.

First there are the four numbers added to the bottom left corner - 138, 139, 140 and 141.  Was Bessler trying to reach the number 141 to get the only factors. 3 x 47, which might link to the three images on MT47? 

Was he pointing to Euclid’s 47th construction i.e, in any right triangle, the square of the two sides connected to the right angle is equal to the square of the third side called the hypotenuse?”  Also known as the 3-4-5 right angle?

Or was it the total of 558?  558 seems meaningless unless you simply add them together to get 18.  18 being the basic number upon which all the others are multiples of, in the pentagram, thus number 5 again.

Secondly there is the carefully drawn  number 5. placed  near to the comment about children’s games.  The fact that it has full stop or period with it means it’s a standalone clue or hint, it doesn’t really relate to the number of children’s games. This is also linked to the pentagram.

Thirdly the figures in the Toys page can be divided by 5, see the image below.

I first posted a blog about this back in 2012.  Notice figure A, it is simply five copies of figure C.  Partial copies yes, but the inference is strong.  The straight line between each of the figures in A, represents a length of cord or rope.  There is one mechanism and one weight within each of the five segments of a pentagram.

Bessler says (paraphrased) that the weights work in pairs. That means one weight from each of two adjoining segments work together, but only when they are at the lowest point in rotation. This will be shown to be part of Bessler’s “connectedness principle”, but there is more to know about that.  

The reason for the inclusion of figures C and D is that they form a pair at each advance in rotation of one fifth.  When C falls, it pulls D back up a little.

The second figure D, has no arms so although it has weights i.e. an axe, it cannot move of itself, because it has already fallen - so has to be moved by another similar figure, i.e. figure C.  Note that figure D has spirals around its body, this is to show that it lies at a different angle to figure C, because it is in the adjacent 5th segment. There is a length of cord running between each of the figures in A, when the active figure C, falls, he pulls the inactive fallen figure D upwards towards its former position.

One of Bessler’s asides includes the following:- a great craftsman would be he who, as one pound falls a quarter, causes four pounds to shoot upwards four quarters.” 

Note that within the quote he mentions that there are five weights, one plus four, and each one is equal to one pound.  Secondly, one pound falls a quarter.  How do we define what he meant by a quarter? In this case he was referring to a clock - a figure he embedded in the first drawings in both Grundlicher Bericht and Das Triumphirende - and a quarter of an hour or fifteen minutes covers 90 degrees.
Even though he used the word ‘quarter' twice, and in the first instance it  referred to the 90 degrees in a clock, in the second part the word ‘quarter' also refers to a clock but this time he has confused us by using the words ‘four quarters’. ‘Four quarter’s equals ‘one whole hour’.  Each hour on a clock is divided into 30 degrees, so the words ‘four quarters’ meaning ‘one hour’ as used here equals thirty degrees.  To paraphrase Bessler’s words, a great craftsman would be he who, as one pound falls 90 degrees, causes each of the other four pounds to shoot upwards 30 degrees.”  
You might also think it would have been better to have said that one pound falls 90 degrees, causes one pound to shoot upwards 30 degrees”, but that would have removed the information that five weights, and therefore five mechanisms were involved, so it had to be four weights plus the one.  Twice at least, Bessler informs us elsewhere that the weight is indeed raised 30 degrees.  
This explains how a fallen weight “shoots” upwards, a 90 degree fall will be able to lift an equal weight quickly.

Copyright © 2023 John Collins 

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