Wednesday 11 October 2023
How I Discovered Johann Bessler’s Perpetual Motion Machine
I was about 15 years of age when I first encountered the Legend of Johann Bessler’s wheel. It was an excellent account written by R.T. Gould in his fascinating book “Oddities : A Book of Unexplained Facts” London 1928. The chapter in question was called “The Wheel of Orffyreus”. The story went as follows.
In 1712 Johann Bessler (aka ORFFYREUS) exhibited a machine which he claimed, drew its energy from gravity. Despite nearly twenty years of the most stringent tests, examinations and public trials, not the slightest sign of deception was ever found. Bessler died 33 years later, in poverty, still maintaining that his machine was genuine and there was no convincing evidence to the contrary. He had a number of supporters as well as enemies, and among his champions were some of the most respected men of the day. These men, included Gottfried Leibniz and Christian Wolff, top scientists of the calibre of Newton.
Bessler wanted to sell his machine for the sum of £20,000, a fortune in those days, equivalent to well over a million Pounds today. Despite the apparent audacity of asking such a large sum of money, it was not unique and in fact Bessler based the sum on the one offered by the British Board of Longitude, which, at the same time, was offering £20,000 to the first person to discover a means of locating the exact longitudinal position of a ship at sea . John Harrison eventually won the money although it took him and his son many years to get all of it from a reluctant British government.
Bessler failed to sell his machine, not for a lack of customers, but because he refused to allow access to his secret until he had the money in his possession. He offered his head to the axe man if he should be found to have deceived his prospective clients. But his determination not to risk being cheated defeated all negotiations. He died in harrowing circumstances years later, building Europe's first horizontal windmill to his own design of course. In mid-winter, starving, weak and in debt, he fell to his death.
These two pictures show all that remain of his last project; a windmill with a vertical axle to take advantage of any wind, regardless of direction. For more detail about the windmill visit my web site at http://www.orffyreus.org/
After his death the remains of the building were utilised for a number of different enterprises because it was so sturdily built that it was thought too valuable to allow to fall into decay. I took these pictures and several more and even today more than 300 years later, it is being offered for sale subject to some conditions to preserve it.
I found Gould’s account absolutely fascinating and since those early days I have checked it against historical records, and found it to be correct in every detail, although omitting much that wasn’t available to him at the time, some one hundred years ago.
There is a curious coincidence relating to this story; when Johann Bessler chose to ask £20,000 for the secret of his machine it was in the same amount in the same year that the British government offered their reward for a method of finding a ship’s longitudinal position at sea. As I pointed out above John Harrison won the award for his marine chronometer.
Harrison was 21 years old when the
was passed. He spent the next 45 years perfecting the design of his timekeepers. He first received a reward from the Commissioners of Longitude in 1737 and did not receive his final payment until he was 80.
Coincidentally, at this time having taken a shore job at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, in 1920 Rupert Gould visited the museum to see the Harrison chronometers, which were very corroded and dilapidated. He was inspired and wrote to the Astronomer Royal begging for permission to restore them and offered a bond of £100 against any damage he caused. He wasn’t some over confident amateur keen to tinker with an old relic, Gould had already restored one valuable antique chronometer. The Astronomer Royal gave his consent and allowed him to do the work at home rather than at Greenwich.
Gould, over a period of many years refurbished all five marine chronometers to their original condition. It was a truly exhaustive venture, requiring special tools to be made in addition to trying to understand how they worked.
It was Rupert Gould’s book about Johann Bessler which gained my interest in Bessler and led to a life long study of the man and his life and of course his amazing wheel. So there is a discernible thread connecting Bessler and British Board of Longitude, to John Harrison, to Rupert Gould and ultimately to myself.
I’m 78 now and I have thoroughly enjoyed my search for the truth, because it has become crystal clear to me that Johann Bessler told the truth and despite everything I’ve been taught I know beyond a shadow of doubt that his wheel was driven by gravity. For those who don’t believe Bessler was genuine, read the numerous witness reports, letters and certificates published after a number trials and tests carried out on the machine. Gottfried Leibniz was convinced of the inventors sincerity after having been allowed to study it twice and for a couple of hours each time. He recommended a number of tests which could be carried out to prove that the machine was genuine. These were incorporated in the subsequent examinations which Karl the Landgrave arranged. My book, Perpetual Motion; An ancient Mystery Solved? (PMAAMS?) details all the certificates and letters to, from and about Bessler.
But the most important thing is the fact that Bessler left three books full of coded information which he suggested would provide proof after his death, that he had in truth invented a real working gravity-enable wheel, which I prefer to call a Gravity Wheel. I have deciphered many of the codes and I will be publishing the information I have found, just as soon as I have built what I believe will be a working model based on Bessler’s clues.
You can read the details of many of these codes by visiting the web sites I have provided links to, in the adjoining panel on the right. There are many details in this blog which has been running for almost ten years now. If you wish to find the codes yourself, you can obtain digital copies of Bessler’s books, each has a full English translation at the back.
There is also one more book which he never published, containing 141 drawings showing the various historical methods which were used to try and find the solution to a gravity wheel. Bessler, who planned to open a school for apprentices, intended to use a number of these drawings to take his pupils on the same journey of discovery as he himself undertook. They are collected in a book, called Maschinen Tractate, a digital copy is also available from the same right side panel.
NB. A fuller list of the books available can be seen by clicking on the top of the right hand panel where is says Bessler’s Books. For the books click on Bessler’s books and a biography. They an be ordered from either end of the panel. Click on home to get back to this page.
PS On my other blog at www.gravitywheel.com I’ve begun to share information based of the pieces of code, which I’ve never shared before. As I’m in the process of building what I hope will be a working model based on Bessler description through deciphering his clues, the added information on that blog will lag behind my build, but it will all be shown in time, even if my build fails. This is because I believe that I have 99 per cent of the information I need to make a successful build. So even if it fails the information will be there for someone else to carry on the work I’ve started.
Copyright © 2023 John Collins
On 6th June, 1712, in Germany, Johann Bessler (also known by his pseudonym, Orffyreus) announced that after many years of failure, he had...
For the last twenty-five years I have been publicly maintaining that Johann Bessler really did invent what used to be known as a Perpetual M...
I decided that when I was 78, I would begin to share what information I have acquired over the years, that I haven’t published before. So t...
1) As planned I’m sharing information both here and on the Besslerwheel.com forum Besslerwheel forum . So here is the first part. All of t...