Perpetual Motion Machine

Ever since the invention of the wheel, man has been searching for unlimited energy. The term perpetual motion more commonly refers to any device or system that perpetually (indefinitely) produces more energy than it consumes, resulting in a net output of energy for indefinite time. The law of conservation of energy, which states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, implies that such a perpetual motion machine cannot exist. The laws of physics tell modern scientists that perpetual motion is an impossibility, but engineers from previous times were not governed by such rules. Between 1607 and 1903 the British Patent Office received over 600 applications for perpetual motion inventions. However, only one man has dared to suggest he really did conquer the problem. That man was Johann Ernst Elias Bessler (1680 – November 30, 1745), an entrepreneur who demonstrated a series of devices he claimed exhibited perpetual motion.

The earliest references to perpetual motion machines, by an Indian mathematician-astronomer, Bhāskara II, date back to 1150. He described a wheel that he claimed would run forever. In 1235 Villard de Honnecourt described, in a 33 page manuscript, a perpetual motion machine of the first kind. His idea was based on the changing torque of a series of weights attached with hinges to the rim of a wheel. While ascending they would hang close to the wheel and have little torque, but they would topple after reaching the top and drag the wheel down on descent due to their greater torque during the swing. His device spawned a variety of imitators that continued to refine the basic design. But, the most controversial was Orffyreus wheel.

Orrfyreus Wheel, designed by Johann Bessler

Johann Ernst Elias Bessler was born in 1680 in Zittau in Saxony. In 1712 he appeared in the town of Gera with a wheel which he claimed was self-moving. With a little push to start, the three-feet-wide, fourinch- thick wheel worked itself up to a regular speed. It could lift a weighted bag and, it was claimed, would continue turning forever. But Bessler seemed to attract many enemies, and very little notice was taken of his invention.

In 1716, the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel became his patron, and it was at his home in 1717 that Bessler created his greatest wheel. Twelve feet wide and fourteen inches thick, it constantly revolved at 25 or 26 turns a minute. The wheel was examined by many of Johann Bessler's contemporaries, including Willem's-Gravesande and Gottfried Leibniz, who concluded that it was not a deception. On 12th November 1717 the wheel was locked and sealed in its room. Two weeks later the room was reopened and the wheel was still turning at a constant 25 rpm. They sealed it away for a further six weeks, and once more, when viewed, it was revolving at 25 rpm.

The door was resealed until 4 January 1718, whereupon it was opened and the wheel was still revolving at twenty-five revolutions per minute. In a letter to Sir Isaac Newton, Willem's-Gravesande described the device as a hollow wheel with framed wood cross pieces, covered by canvas to prevent the mechanism from being seen. Willem's-Gravesande reported that, when pushed, the wheel took two or three revolutions to reach a maximum speed of around 25 revolutions per minute.

Whilst various institutions, including the Royal Society, were debating whether to raise funds to purchase "Orffyreus' Wheel" (for which he demanded twenty thousand pounds), William 's-Gravesande examined the axle of the wheel, concluding that he could see no way in which the wheel could be a fake. Bessler asked for £20,000 to reveal the secrets of his wheel, but nobody seemed ready to provide such a huge amount of money. Bessler smashed the wheel, believing Willem's-Gravesande was hoping to discover the secret of the wheel without paying for it, and declared that the curiosity of the professor had provoked him. At the same time, his enemies were casting doubts on his invention, but many learned and official figures who studied the wheels confirmed there was no trickery involved.

Bessler and his machine vanished into obscurity. It is known that he was rebuilding his machine in 1727 and that Willem's-Gravesande had agreed to examine it again, but it is not known whether it was ever tested. Bessler died in 1745, aged sixty-five, when he fell to his death from a four-and-a-half-story windmill he was constructing in Fürstenburg. taking his secret to his grave.

It is said that he left certain clues which, when deciphered, will demonstrate how his amazing machine worked. But until then perpetual motion will have to remain, at least in scientific eyes, a practical impossibility.

Sources :
100 Most Strangest Mysteries by Matt Lamy;;

Pics sources :;
Perpetual Motion Machine Perpetual Motion Machine Reviewed by Tripzibit on 06:03 Rating: 5


  1. It would be interesting to see what perpetual motion could mean in terms of energy and utility services - could that mean the endless generation of energy somehow?

  2. The machine that Bessler's invented was claimed would continue turning forever and was self-moving. If this machine does exist, it can produce clean alternative energy with gravity as a continuous source of energy. But somehow, no one continue Bessler's research or investigate any further how his machine work.


Powered by Blogger.