What follows is mostly speculation and not to be treated as fact although hopefully my suggestions are logical.
Research into Bessler’s Wheel tends to be concentrated on trying to discover how he invented a device which could lift heavy weights and run continuously for more than a month, but what of the accompanying issues he had to overcome in the process?
The ceilings in Kassel where he exhibited his last and largest device were about twelve feet high, so he needed a ten foot step ladder to fix the eight sets of bolts into the ceiling, to hold the two sets of four pillars supporting the wheel. William Kenrick described seeing the remains of the bolts still attached to the ceiling on a visit he made a few years after Bessler had left. Translocating the wheel a few steps between each set of wheel supports might have required a pair of platforms extending from under the first set of bearings to a similar position under the second. With the axle being about six feet above the floor Bessler and his cousin would need something to raise their shoulders high enough to lift it enough to drop it into the next bearing set. The platforms could have provided this assistance.
They could have left the platforms in position which would have allowed visitors easy access to examine the bearings and although no mention of such furniture was made, several written comments describe the intensive examination of the bearings which were frequently carried out. Access to the bearings could have been enabled by a platform and it is possible that the platforms could have been movable to allow a view of the whole wheel rotating, and we know that Fischer von Erlach spent about two hours examining the wheel and listening to the sounds coming from it. Removal of any platform would seem necessary to allow him to be close enough. Or a simple ladder could have been provided but examination of the bearings while the wheel revolved might necessitate the presence of the platforms.
The axle was six feet long and the wheel eighteen inches wide, leaving four and half feet clear but there had to be three or four inches on each end to accommodate the pillars and their bearing shells. So about two feet clearance for each man to lift his end of the axle. So other means of lifting might include a kind of wheel barrow with some suitable construction to fit under the axle, or perhaps each man simply lifted the wheel onto his shoulders via a padded yoke of some kind.
Translocation of the wheel to a separate set of bearings and supporting pillars was suggested by Gottfried Leibniz during their two meetings, and it was designed to allow the close examination of the bearings which were left uncovered during the examinations.
There had to be access to a large window, or two would be better; one to enable the rope to pass through to the outside pulley and down to the courtyard below, and a second or third one to allow the examiners and other spectators to see the lifting of the heavy weight. There also had to be room for several people all there to witness the spectacle, but allowing Bessler a private space to remove and replace a number of weights during translocation.
Actual construction of the wheel could have been managed in position on the axle which had already been fitted in place on the pillars, otherwise it would have to be lifted onto the bearings during or after the wheel’s build had been completed.
I don’t know how all his build issues were dealt with but Bessler only had one assistant sometimes referred to as his ‘his blue-apron apprentice’, also as his cousin. In Freemasonry a candidate is given a blue apron to signify that he has progressed to the second degree after the initial white lambskin one, meaning he has learned more of his chosen apprenticeship. Although it’s tempting to think that Bessler’s assistant knew how the wheel worked, I doubt it. Bessler displayed such concern over that ‘secret’ and only ever shared it reluctantly with Karl the Landgrave who insisted on personal verification that the machine was genuine before he agreed to allowing the inventor to exhibit it in his castle Weissenstein at Kassel.
The assistant was necessary to help with translocating the wheel and perhaps with lifting some parts of the build, but even if it was his younger brother Gottfried, I still think it extremely unlikely that Bessler would have allowed any information about the actual ‘secret’ to have been shared deliberately or accidentally.
Despite the difficulties Bessler managed to overcome them and provided an excellent exhibition of his machine which lasted over ten years. It is so frustrating that given the large numbers of people who must have examined his machine minutely over the years no one was able to complete the purchase of one of the most amazing inventions ever to be seen. The one man who was prepared to buy Bessler’s wheel, Peter the Great, Czar of Russia, died on his way to see it.