Re: Strings and weights within a wheel (and many other interesting things!)

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Posted by Scott Ellis ( on August 17, 2002 at 10:49:10:

Hello All,
Thanks for your post, Joel. However, my discussion board program limits the size of a post to 100,000 characters. This is to prevent a malicious person from posting a message so large that it fills up my hard drive.

Anyway, the verbage that Joel posted comes from a book entitled "The Century of Inventions" by Edward Somerset, Marquis of Worcester (with commentary by Henry Dircks). The entire book is available online, together with many of the drawings and diagrams. The specific page from which Joel copied his verbage, which addresses the Marquis' overbalanced wheel is here:

And this link will take you directly to the section about the overbalaced wheel, the section titled "An advantageous change of Centres":

Though the Marquis' overbalanced wheel is interesting, and indeed seems like it might work, the wheel actually balances. In fact, here is a website where Tony Townsend went to a lot of trouble to prove it will always balance, no matter what. He even wrote a java applet which allows you to adjust the various parameters and see how it behaves.

Interestingly, Tony seems to be confused in thinking that this was Bessler's wheel. Nevertheless, his analysis and calculations are rigorous and quite convincing.


Here is the Marquis' "overbalanced" wheel:

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