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"Unlike all other automata, such as clocks or springs, or other hanging weights which require winding up, or whose duration depends on the chain which attaches them, these weights, on the contrary, are the essential parts, and constitute the perpetual motion itself; since from them is received the universal movement which they must exercise so long as they remain out of the centre of gravity; and when they come to be placed together, and so arranged one against another that they can never obtain equilibrium, or the punctum quietus which they unceasingly seek in their wonderfully speedy flight, one or other of them must apply its weight at right angles to the axis, which in its turn must also move."
- Johann E. E. Bessler, 1717


Clues to the Wheel's Design

  • Machine was set in motion by weights.
- Bessler

  • Weights acted in pairs
- Bessler

  • Weights gained force from their own swinging (or movement).
- Bessler

  • Weights came to be placed together, arranged one against another.
- Bessler

  • Weights applied force at right angles to the axis.
- Bessler

  • Springs were employed, but not as detractors suggested.
- Bessler

  • The machine's power was directly proportional to its diameter.
- Bessler

  • Weights may have been pierced in the middle and attached by connecting springs (observer speculation).
- Acta Eridutorum, An Account of the Perpetuum Mobile of J. E. E. Orffyreus, 1715

  • Weights were heard hitting the side of the wheel going down.
- eyewitness accounts

  • Machine (Gera wheel) made scratching noises, as if parts or poles moved over one another.
- eyewitness accounts

  • Weights may have been attached to movable or elastic arms on the periphery of the wheel (observer speculation).
- Johann Christian Wolff, eyewitness account

  • Weights may have landed on planks/boards at right angles to the circumference of the wheel.
- Johann Christian Wolff, eyewitness account

  • Weights were cylindrical.
- Johann Christian Wolff, eyewitness account

  • About 8 weights fell during each revolution of the wheel, which took about 3 seconds. (Kassel wheel diameter ~ 12 feet)
- Joseph Fischer, eyewitness account

Clues from Apologia Poetica


  • "all the inmost parts, and the perpetual-motion structures, retain the power of free movement, as I've been saying since 1712." - pg 295
  • "a work of this kind of craftsmanship has, at its basis of motion, many separate pieces of lead. These come in pairs, such that as one of them takes up an outer position, the other takes up a position nearer the axle. Later, they swap places, and so they go on and on changing places all the time." - pg 295
  • "anyone who wants can go on about the wonderful doings of these weights, alternately gravitating to the center and climbing back up again, for I can't put the matter more clearly." - pg 295
  • "A great craftsman would be that man who can 'lightly' cause a heavy weight to fly upwards! Who can make a pound-weight rise as 4 ounces fall, or 4 pounds rise as 16 ounces fall. If he can sort that out, the motion will perpetuate itself. But if he can't, then his hard work shall be all in vain." - pg 295
  • "He can rack his brains and work his fingers to the bones with all sorts of ingenious ideas about adding extra weights here and there. The only result would be that his wheel will get heavier and heavier - it would run longer if it were empty!" - pg 295
  • "Have you ever seen a crowd of starlings squabbling angrily over the crumbs on a stationary mill-wheel? That's what it would be like for such a fellow and his invention, as I know only too well from my own recent experience!" - pg 295
  • "Many would-be Mobile-makers think that if they can arrange for some of the weights to be a little more distant from the center than the others, then the thing will surely revolve. A few years ago, I learned all about this the hard way. And then the truth of the old proverb came home to be that one has to learn through bitter experience." - pg 295-296
  • "by making the true claim - that no weights hang from the axle of my wheel." - pg 281
  • "design has, in fact, progressed to the point where there is nothing supercritical about the exact disposition of the weights - an ounce more or less, here or there, makes not a scrap of difference to the Wheel, which will hold its course serenely without 'turning a hair'."
  • "Ask any of those who have groped inside my Wheel and grasped its axle" - "Rather, it has many compartments, and is pierced all over with various holes." - pg 336
  • "one pound can cause the raising of more than one pound." - "What if I were to teach the proper method of mechanical application? Then people would say: 'Now I understand!'" - pg 342
  • "If I arrange to have just one cross-bar in my machine, it revolves very slowly, just as if it can hardly turn itself at all, but, on the contrary, when I arrange several bars, pulleys and weights, the machine can revolve much faster" - pg 355
  • "I don't want to go into the details here of how suddenly the excess weight is caused to rise. You can't comprehend these matters, or see how true craftsmanship can rise above innate lowly tendencies (as does a weight above the point of application of a lever)" - pg 357
  • "If one weight is giving an upward impetus, another one, at the same time, is giving an equal downward one." - pg 362
  • "you'll soon find, you splendid mechanics, that this is a nut you can't crack!" - pg 362
  • "It must, simply put, just revolve, without being wound-up, through the principle of 'excess weight'" - pg 362
  • "it runs according to 'preponderance', and turns everything else along with it; as long as its materials shall endure, it will revolve of its own accord." - pg 363
  • "On one side it is heavy and full; on the other empty and light, just as it should be." - pg 363
  • "All the wise ones were looking for the same principle (of 'excess weight') that I have described, and they sought it in things that were already familiar to them." - pg 366
  • "They sought to bring a wheel into a state of motion, such that, without the need for winding, its innate virtue would keep it revolving as long as its materials might last." - pg 366
  • "by all intelligent people, who, with true understanding, have sought the Mobile in a place no different from that in which I eventually found it." - pg 367


  • (on 3 ft high wheel) - "The bolts which regulated the motion were screwed into and out of the axle by many people, for I allowed all my friends to operate it." - pg 275
  • Someone said: "had to be a cat instead, as shown by the scratching noise coming from inside! Yet others said that, no, it was all to do with mercury perhaps?" - pg 276
  • "there's always the danger that a surreptitious shove would knock it out of balance and bring it grinding to a halt." - pg 297
  • "I constructed my great work, the 6-ell diameter wheel. It revolved in either direction, but caused me a few headaches before I got the mechanism properly adjusted." - pg 281
  • "reached the stage now where even a poor workman could put the thing together without a lot of head-scratching; and get it completed almost before you could notice" - pg 316
  • "The clattering noise you refer to is, I assure you, a phenomenon caused directly by the real motive power of the machine, and nothing else." - pg 352
  • Note: The Draschwitz machine did not create a similar noise because it worked on quite different principles. - pg 352
  • "I make my machines in such a way that, big or small, I can make the resulting power small or big as I choose. I can get the power to a perfectly calculated degree, multiplied up even as much as fourfold." - 355
  • "In a true Perpetuum Mobile everything must, necessarily, go round together. There can be nothing involved in it which remains stationary on the axle." - pg 361
  • "The wheel's own inner force must come into being, without external momentum being applied". - pg 362


  • "He who wishes to make it in this world must often be prepared to use a combination of lateral thinking and initiative!" - pg 264
  • "but what I didn't know then, and indeed have only recently discovered, is that there were obstacles in our way. We were, you might say, unprepared and therefore still far from the truth." - pg 262
  • "I discovered how a man can climb higher on Jacob's ladder, and learn to shun all superstition." - pg 259
  • "Soon I began to grind out a book full of all sorts of things, including designs for rotating wheels. These incorporated various devices and pulleys that had occurred to me from time to time, including the notion that a flow of mercury could enable a wheel to rotate." - pf 265
  • "spit turning", "power continuously to rotate, like a clock that could wind itself up", "took note of its skillful construction" - pg 259
  • "For the vision of the roasting-spit would not leave my mind. I thought it might be possible, on mechanical principles, to devise a better machine". - pg 259
  • "For I put together the very first device which could spontaneously revolve a little. I saw that I had finally made the right choice, and why the earlier ones had been wrong. My heart leapt for joy at the sight of this genuine Mobile." - pg 271
  • "So it was at the house of Richters in the year 1712 I achieved the discovery of the wondrous device that has amazed the world so much. My industry was spared the curses which accompanied the earlier efforts. The machine stood 3 feed high," - "On unfastening a bolt, the wheel immediately began to revolve." - pg 273
  • "If something went wrong with my machine, I'd mend it by poking around through a tiny hole, to prevent anyone seeing inside." - pg 292
  • "I'll tell you with great pride that my timbers are all solid. There's also no trickery going on behind that hole - it's just for inspection purposes." - pg 292
  • When revealed, you will hear the wretches say: - "Just look at the thing properly, and you'll see that there isn't much artistry to it" - pg 315

Clues from Das Triumphans Perpetuum Mobile


  • "The internal structure of the wheel is designed in such a way that weights applied in accordance with the laws of Perpetual Motion, work, once a small impressed force has caused the commencement of movement, to perpetuate the said movement and cause the rotation to continue indefinitely" - pg 191
  • "For this concept, my 'principle of excess weight'" ... "these weights are themselves the PM device, the 'essential constituent parts' which must of necessity continue to exercise their motive force (derived from the PM principle) indefinitely - so long as they keep away from the centre of gravity." - pg 191
  • "they are enclosed in a structure or framework, and co-ordinated in such a way that not only are they prevented from attaining their desired equilibrium or 'point of rest', but they must for ever seek it, thereby developing an impressive velocity which is proportional to their mass and to the dimensions of their housing." - pg 191
  • "a machine made up of material, therefore heavy, substances and parts, assembled in such a fashion that once it has received an externally-given motive force will never lose it but will continue endlessly without interruption to retain that motion." - pg 219
  • "the motive force, the ability to move itself and drive other objects makes up the FORM of the device" ... The "essence" - pg 221
  • "as an example of the ideas I am discussing, consider the case of two small metal spheres, one of iron and one of lead. For both of them, their FORM consists in their regular sphericity. But we find that placed in a furnace, one loses its shape quicker than the other. Therefore the greater or lesser "meltability" of such spheres is not the result of "sphericalness" - common to both - but of the physical characteristics of the two materials. And it is this "material accident" which is the FORMAL CAUSE of the difference." - pg 221
  • "The case is no different from that of a leaden or even waxen sphere. They are both as perfectly deserving of the description "sphere" as is an iron one, despite the fact that the latter will withstand fire and other attacks better than the two former. For form give the essence of the thing." - pg 222
  • "then set it in motion - it is essentially a roughly 6 ell diameter wheel, about a foot in width. He did this with little difficulty, moving it by hand until a single weight inside it was heard to begin falling; it then began to rotate of its own accord with such a force that within a minute it had rotated 40 and more times, and could only be stopped by applying great effort." - pg 247
  • "The inventor also caused the wheel to rotate in the reverse direction" - pg 247
  • "the pressure of two fingers" ... "pressure was applied until the moment when a single one of the weights present inside the body of the device began to fall. The machine then gradually began, of its own accord, to revolve faster and faster." - pg 249


  • ""the arrangement has been designed in such a way that the rotational movement of the entire vertically suspended wheel can be slightly modified by the application on each side of small weights" - pg 190
  • "since the motive force of the device, which at the moment is only that of a small working model, can be multiplied to an almost infinite degree through combination. Further advantage can be obtained by working the device in conjunction with ordinary machines, and altogether there is no load or burden too great for the machine to face if the working arrangements are properly set up." - pg 208
  • "now present for all to see, the principle of Perpetual Motion. For no burden or resistance is so great that, other things being equal, the P.M. principle cannot overcome it, since it is capable of having its effect multiplied indefinitely." - pg 210
  • "possess the principle of motion internally" - pg 220
  • "firstly, I shall relate the cause of FIRE, and then the nature and operation of it; secondly, the properties of other ELEMENTS; and, thirdly, the nature of COLD, the cause of perpetual Motion, the essence of the Sun, and the reason for the movements of the Sky, Moon, Sea and Earth; finally, the causes of the ebb and flow of the Tides, Thunder, Lightning, Rainstorms, Winds, and the reasons why all these things grow and multiply. In this manner I shall be able to show to others the pathway I myself discovered, after many errors, and which will enable them to bring to light, with little difficulty, even more wonderful things." - pg 265
  • "have discovered these things solely by assiduous observation and through scrutiny of the elements." - pg 265


  • "for you have granted to them above all others the ability to discover and demonstrate the true character of things, of your great and wondrous creations, according to their differing amounts, dimensions and weights, propensities and properties." - pg 206
  • "For instance, those of the radiant heavenly bodies, which proclaim Your honour. And of those wonderful motive forces which demonstrate your ceaseless, ever-present power. Of the composition, whose perfection in itself proves that of the providential Hand behind it, not only of the Universe as a whole, but of those constituent bodies which make it up." - pg 206
  • "Of the ways, which proclaim Your Holy Truth, in which these bodies can be analyzed, and of many other wonderful things of which You have appointed them stewards." - pg 206
  • "Your wisdom and the riches of Your goodness, present in the forces of Nature, should be sought with child-like respect, found with an enlightened heart, and applied and put to practical use with pure joyful gratitude." - pg 207
  • "Give to them" ... "an understanding of Your principle, vouchsafed to me alone, of eternal mechanical motion, and how to apply it in countless good and useful ways." - pg 207
  • "for You are the Beginning and the End of all things." - pg 207
  • "My script is a young shoot grafted on to the tree of perpetual motion with a true understanding of the elements; an insight into the nature of things which will enable investigators to reach a lasting store of knowledge in their quest to understand the marvels of nature, and the possibilities opened up to us by this gift." - pg 264
  • "For experience teaches us that there is no pleasure equal to that given by a true understanding of nature, since this alone reveals to us GOD's perfect goodness, wisdom and power." - pg 264
  • "I believe that even those who are not ignorant, should they attempt to use pure REASON alone to achieve their ends will, all of them, suffer from the same noted madness, and that thus their great chance of fame will be missed. " - pg 264
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