Tuesday 16 January 2024

UPDATE - and BESSLER’s Wheel Today.

 My own project to build a version of Bessler's wheel in order to prove that I know how to do so, is progressing slowly and steadily.  I’m using old bits and pieces from previous attempts and having to adapt them to their new purpose which is probably slowing things down, but it is less costly than buying in new material. 

Now that I have accepted that nothing will prove the design other than an actual working model, I have enjoyed being in my workshop again, but I wish the temperature outside would warm up a lot.  It’s currently -4 degrees Centigrade which is equal to 24.8 degrees Fahrenheit and I can’t  heat the garage enough to make any difference.  But I wrap up and it’s not so bad.

The wheel is three feet in diameter, marked out in fifths, like a pentagram. There are five mechanisms and five weights.  I am working on constructing the levers which isn’t too problematic.  I can see where the cords will pass and I have the ten pulleys marked out approximately.

I thought the cords might present a problem because there would be times in their action when the cord would loosen, and I would have to design some way of gathering the loose cord to hold it ready to tighten again.  I considered attaching the pulleys to a spring loaded short lever, but in the end I found that it won’t be a problem because the falling weight which will pull the pre-falling weight just 30 degrees, acts at exactly the same time as the pre-falling weight, so the cord always remains taut.  Both actions are simultaneous.


On another matter, I see the comments previously have cast doubt on the power obtainable from Bessler’s wheel.  Bessler himself said he believed a wheel of some 20 ells in diameter would be possible.  

From my book about Bessler, “ John Rowley, master of mechanicks, for making a dam before and behind the engine, for clearing the old foundation, for setting down a new frame, 26 foot long and 11 foot high, broad enough for the twelve foot wheel for the new wheel of twenty-four foot diameter and twelve foot broad; for the new brass engine with brasses to the crank, forcing rods and a new crank et. . . £740.”  

From this we can see such a large wheel was readily achievable 

A 20 ell diameter wheel would be about 37 feet wide, and Bessler was obviously answering a simple question about what might be achievable. But  having a wheel of such a large diameter is not necessary, when you could mount several wheels on a single axle, thus multiplying the potential output many times over, while keeping the diameter smaller.  Modern designs would adapt a wheel to minimise the space required. 

Wind turbines can be over 300 feet high and more than 200 feet wide  Steam turbines can weight hundreds of tons, by comparison Bessler wheels could be effective at much smaller sizes.

It has often been commented that the reason he never sold his machine was because it wasn’t as powerful as competing methods such as water wheels and wind mills,  one reason for his failure to sell his machine was because of his terms of sale.  He demanded the money up front before anyone could look inside the device - an understandable precaution. No one was prepared to risk that.  The Czar of Russia, Peter the Great, was prepared to accept such a deal, although if Bessler had been found cheating, there is no doubt he would have demanded the ultimate sanction of execution.  Unfortunately Peter died on the way to Kassel.

The other reason that his wheel was never sold was because no one could find a practical use for it.  Windmills and water wheels had accomplished all that people needed and Bessler’s wheel was unproven.  The only use which was considered was in removing water from flooded mines and that was solved by Newcomen’s Beam engine which began to remove water from Cornish mines in about 1705. This system used a piston pump, something unavailable to Bessler’s wheel.  Although ingenious, Bessler’s machine would never find a practical use until our time, when we need a cheap, 24/7 device for producing electricity anywhere in the world.



  1. "... and I have the ten pulleys marked out approximately."

    Wasn't it the use of too many pulleys that turned your 2020 "Bessler - Collins Gravity Wheel" into a unworkable mess?

  2. Replies
    1. Based on all the pulleys it needs, this is probably the basic design JC is working with:


      If so, then something for the simmers to start working with.

    2. In the above drawing all that matters is the vertical height gained and lost by identical leverweights with the mass at their ends. The degrees of rotation of the leverweights is irrelevant, as is the red rope connection points to the levers and the pulley positions. The bottom leverweight will fall about 4x the vertical distance the preceding one must be raised, from the drawing. A 4 to 1 ratio approximately as indicated. This will be easily achieved, albeit somewhat slowly, because the falling will lose 4x more Potential Energy than the raised one will gain at any point to their resting stops. The speed of transition is dependent on the net Potential Energy lost transformed into Kinetic Energy gained as a function of v. "Leverage" is only about one weight being able to lose more Potential Energy than another gains. Next look at where the rope and pulleys would be located for the next preceding segment. Note that the rope length is about 2 times radius in length. Now trace that back through the other segments to their levers. If the rope length is too long that is ok but if it is too short it is a functional problem with the drawing. To my eyes the rope and pulley placements seem to not be in a workable position to allow reset ect.

    3. I'm hoping that drawing anon 23:45 made is NOT what John is working on because, even without doing any simming, I can tell it's going to be a dead duck no runner. He's got three weights on what's supposed to be the ascending left side and only two on what's supposed to be the descending right side. As soon as he let's go of the finished wheel it will just back turn ccw until it's got three weights below the axle and only two above. That's why in MT we never see Bessler using any kind of wheels with an odd number of weights (except MT10 but I don't count that one because is got 15 weights in the original drawing so the difference between 8 under the axle and 7 above is not too much). Bessler liked wheels with even numbers of weights because they never can get bottom heavy with more weights below the axle than above. John apparently does not realize this yet.

    4. Thank you anon 23:45. That isn’t far off my original design going back a while, but you are missing an important ingredient which makes a big difference. Also although the weights are shown in almost their correct positions, because some of them are hanging and not resting at those positions, their actual weight is suspended from their pivot and that is where their weight is sensed.


    5. JC wrote "...because some of them are hanging and not resting at those positions, their actual weight is suspended from their pivot and that is where their weight is sensed."

      Where their weight is "sensed"? AFAIK, the CoG of a collection of weights is determined solely by the locations of the weights and not by the locations of their pivots if the weights are free to swing about those pivots. Consider a Ferris wheel with cars hanging from pivots equally spaced around the wheel's outer circumference. The pivots will have their CoG at the center of the Ferris wheel's axle, but the cars will have their CoG at a point below the Ferris wheel's axle (and that distance will be equal to the distance between any pivot and the CoG of the car hanging below it).

      I will be looking forward to that "important ingredient" that makes a "big difference". Springs?

    6. The wheels Moment Of Inertia (MOI) is conditional on the physical position of each weight in relation to the Center Of Rotation (the axle). If a weight on a pivoted lever is restrained from free movement in some way and is not vertical then its contribution to turning moments and system COG is from where it is physically located. If it vertically hangs from the pivot and is unrestrained and free to move under gravity then its turning moment and contribution to system COG is the same horizontal distance to the vertical through the axle. In the case of the Ferris wheel with Gondola cars hanging vertically beneath it the wheel is very easy to rotate because the cars COG is directly beneath the axle and therefore the system COG has no torque contribution potential. Because the COG is unable to lose anymore Potential Energy (PE). If it can lose PE it will have a torque contribution until it can't lose anymore PE and is at its lowest attainable position directly below the axle.

    7. Thank you anon.09:26

      I have discussed this numerous times on my blog, here’s one I found quickly at

      Monday 23 September 2013
      Levers, Weights and Perpetual Motion Wheels.

      I used the wrong words in my blog above but I was trying to be brief, assuming wrongly that this was something everyone was familiar with. You can see I discussed at least 20 years ago.


    8. I located your Monday, September 23rd, 2013 blog and I agree with you that when a swinging weighted lever rests on a stop, the torque it applies to a rotating wheel will be transferred from the lever's pivot to the stop. As weights come to rest on stops that should also affect the motion of the CoG of all of the weights as the wheel continues to rotate.

      I found this line of yours from that past blog particularly interesting:

      "Yes I've been hard at work in the workshop. I don't have anything to report other than that I'm 100 per cent certain that I have the solution - and that is something I have never had the confidence to say before."

      That was over TEN YEARS ago and you are STILL whistling the SAME tune today! If you are still breathing, no doubt you'll also be whistling it ten years from now!

    9. Just this year anon 10:50, then I’ll shut up! Well I’ll shut up saying I’ve got the solution, because I’ll have it! To be fair there are several similar claims on BE forum..


    10. Having some free time today I decided to do a Leupold style analysis of that nice drawing that anon 23:45 made for us of what he thought might be John's latest wheel design. Here's what I came up with:


      I drew orange colored horizontal lines from the centers of each of the five weights to a purple colored vertical line drawn through the center of the axle for the wheel BEFORE the levers shifted on the wheel's right descending side (shown on the left side of my drawing) and then AFTER the levers shifted on the wheel's right descending side (shown on the right side of my drawing).

      The analysis just uses the horizontal distances of the centers of the weights (all assume to have the same mass) to the purple colored vertical line drawn through the center of the axle. I used ms paint and used the lengths of the orange colored horizontal lines in pixels on my laptop's screen (you can read those pixel lengths at the bottom left of the ms paint working screen).

      As shown, before the shift takes place the CoG of the five weights is located -315 pixels onto the wheel's left side which is supposed to be its ascending side. Then after the shift takes place, the CoG is located -151 pixels onto the wheel's left side. The shift improves things, but in both cases this wheel will still have its weights' CoG located on its left and supposedly ascending side and that will create a CCW torque that will try to make the wheel turn CCW. I think anon 06:09's analysis of what will happen when the completed version of this wheel is released is spot on accurate. It will immediately turn CCW into an equilibrium position so it has three weights below the axle and two above the axle.

      John mentioned something about an "important ingredient" missing from anon 23;45's drawing that can make a "big difference". Well, this magic ingredient will have be something really unusual if it's going to overcome what my Leupold style pm wheel analysis shows.

      I too am looking forward to finally seeing it. Come to think of it, why wasn't it revealed as part of our "English Christmas pudding" Big Reveal back on the recently passed January 1st? Didn't John promise for months prior that he was going to "reveal all whether it works or not"? That pudding we got was missing an important ingredient. No wonder no one here liked the flavor!

    11. "Didn't John promise for months prior that he was going to "reveal all whether it works or not"? That pudding we got was missing an important ingredient."

      Lol! You mean you actually expected to get your pudding with ALL of the ingredients in it, anon 23:31? You must be new here.

      I told everyone here last year that when it came time to enjoy their bowls of "tasty English Christmas pudding" served to them as JC finally delivered his "Big Reveal", all they would find in those bowls would be a lot of hot air which this time took the form of poorly drawn wheels with parts missing from them like that "important ingredient" that he finally now, about two weeks later, just happened to mention. Maybe now you'll all believe me when I tell you what he's going to be doing (more like NOT doing) in the future.

    12. Excellent job anon 23.31. I’m not going to waste time pointing out your errors because I intend to finish the model I’m making. If it works that will be answer enough, if it doesn’t work I’ll still point out the errors in both anon responses because it’s not fair to test a design which has not been properly understood. I ignore the sarcasm evident in some comments.


    13. Hello John.
      Long-time no report here!
      I see that all that comment here are faceless, nameless anons. I find that saddening. There is no comraderie anymore because of it, well at least what there WAS of it back in the day.
      It is good that the search continues.
      Have not been over to the other site for years now.
      I wonder have many are still yet alive?
      I hope your health and spirits are good and up resp.
      -James (this new Google ID thing just took-over the other!)


The True Story of Johann Bessler and His Perpetual Motion.

  On  6th June, 1712, in Germany, Johann Bessler (also known by his pseudonym, Orffyreus) announced that after many years of failure, he had...