Between 1960, when I first read Gould’s excellent account of Bessler’s wheel and 1974 when I built my first attempt at replicating it out of balsa wood and washers, my thoughts were confined to my mind and numerous scraps of paper and pencil drawings. From then until about 1980 little changed until I made up my mind to try to obtain as much hard information about Johann Bessler and his perpetual motion machine as I could possibly manage. This was of course before the internet made this kind of task so much easier.
I joined the British Museum Library and was able to actually touch and handle GB, AP and DT. Subsequently I obtained poor copies of those same documents, but I couldn’t read them. I advertised in a local newspaper for anyone who could translate 18th C German into English. Amazingly I was contacted by four people, one of whom was Mike Senior who became a good friend over the next twenty years or so.
He translated everything into English, handwriting it and adding a number of notes about what he had done. He asked me if I wanted a literal word by word translation or what he said would be his best impression of what Bessler wrote, conveying meaning and nuance where possible. I chose the latter because I simply didn’t know what was in the documents at that time.
Seeing as we all make use of his translations I should say a word or two about Mike. For a start he was was a polymath and a member of MENSA. He was consultant to the local authority on flora, having a Masters Degree in Botany in fact several degrees in different unrelated subjects - he was just curious about everything. He read and spoke 18th C German, read and translated Latin and could quote from memory from all the Greek classical plays in the original Greek. He was an expert on astrophysics and wrote papers for peer review in scientific journals. He loved Maths problems and tried to explain String Theory and Riemann’s Conjecture to me, for example. It went straight over my head at very high altitude! He also like his beer! There was so much more to Mike but space is limited. But he did once say to me, “of course you do realise that what Bessler claimed is impossible”. We laughed and agreed to disagree.
Once I had the translations plus a number of other documents about Bessler, also in German and needing translating, I set about writing my own biography of Bessler, trying hard to stick to the facts as presented. Most of these were either letters to and from and about Bessler, or items from the local newspapers of the time. Included were accounts of several official examinations arranged by certain men of high standing including Karl the Landgrave of Hesse Kassel who agreed to offer his patronage and support but only if he had first satisfied himself that the machine was genuine
I was unable to get a publisher in the U.K. to publish my book, although I only sent it to about a dozen publishers having written the manuscript in one year. I read that JK Rowling took seven years to write her first book! Maybe I should have held out for more publishers, but I was impatient, and decided to self publish.
Later I decided in addition to PM:AAMS? to self publish GB, AP, DT and MT. It wasn’t profitable at all but it enabled me to just about cover my costs in running several web sites.
While this was happening I continued with my day job and in my spare time constructed many PM wheels. I began this blog back in April 2009. It’s alarming to see how confident I was back then - nothing’s changed!
I’ve done numerous radio interviews both here and abroad. I was invited to Rome to take part in a documentary about Bessler. Unfortunately it was all in Italian, even my words were dubbed in so I don’t even know what I said let alone what the rest of the cast said. It was a bit of a set up as the other speakers were traditional scientists following the classic path that it was impossible.
I was asked to lecture at the Glastonbury Crop circle symposium in the mid 1990s and met Brian O’Leary a trained astronaut although he didn’t complete his training. It was a strange gig, which resulted in me discovering I could dowse for water, not a very useful trick these days, but curiously rewarding.
I also did a radio interview from home, here in England with Redneck radio in Greenwood, USA. Hilarious but good fun.
There is so much more but I don’t want to bore the pants off you!
GB Grundliccher Bericht
AP Apologia Poetica
DT Das Triumphirende