The search for Bessler’s solution has, for many people, involved relentless studying of the many clues left by Bessler in the hope of extracting more information. My own work has been largely concerned with this technique.
Below I have described my latest area of study and the ‘facts’ I believe I have managed to extract from one particular passage from Bessler’s Apologia Poetica. I’m not saying that it is all 100 per cent correct but I’m satisfied that it provides the basis to develop a working hypothesis to rebuild Bessler’s wheel.
It seemed to me that in Bessler’s much quoted words, there might be more informarion than was immediately obvious to the eye.
“He will be called a great craftsman,
who can easily/lightly throw a heavy thing high,
and if one pound falls a quarter,
it shoots four pounds, four quarters high.”
To take what he says literally, is to do him a disservice - it seems clear to me that he intended this as a clue and yet it appears to be nonsense. How do we extract something meaninful from it?
Firstly, the most obvious point is that if one pound falls a quarter and lifts another four pounds then we have a total of five pounds and those who are familiar with my work in decoding Bessler’s clues will at once recognise the presence of the ubiquitous number 5 again which I have suggested refers to five mechanisms.
Secondly, he implies that there are five one pound weights (one plus four), but one of them is falling. Since one of the falling weights is one pound and the other four being lifted are also one pound each, all of them are of equal mass - one pound.
Thirdly it follows that if one of the weights was falling and four were rising, then there are either five one pound weights in total, alternately falling and being lifted again - or there are ten one pound weights, operating in pairs within the five mechanisms, five falling and five rising. I suggest that there were in fact five pairs of similar weights, and the reason I think this is because elsewhere in Apologia Poetica, he says:-
“... a work of this kind of craftsmanship has, as 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.”
This description supports my contention that there must have been ten one pound weights operating in five pairs.
Fourthly, “...if one pound falls a quarter, it shoots four pounds, four quarters high...” then an alternative meaning can be, when one pound falls one quarter then each one pound is shot one quarter high, which is no big deal from a similar weight falling the same distance.
Fifthly, “...if one pound falls a quarter,” it means it falls 90 degrees. If a pendulum is placed upside down against a clock face with the weight at twelve o'clock, and the pivot in the centre of the clock, then it can only fall in total, 180 degrees, or half way around the clock to the six o'clock point. If it falls a quarter then it only falls from twelve o'clock to three o'clock, 90 degrees.
We have already surmised that the five pairs of weight were all of equal mass. In addition it tells us what actually happens when the wheel was started from a stand still. When, “..one pound falls a quarter, it shoots four pounds, four quarters high” - or when a one pound weight had fallen the whole wheel will begin to turn and hence all the other weights will be raised. Witnesses reported that the bi-directional Kassel wheel was started with the a gentle push from two fingers, BUT, rotation did not begin until a single weight was heard to fall and from that simple start the the whole device began to turn and accelerate.
But there is more to learn from this ingenious quote. We now know that a one pound weight can fling another one pound weight high with ease or little effort. Is he suggesting that perhaps he found a way to trade width for height? I think this is the only explanation for such a concept so I went over the argument against trading height and width (THAW) and I found that there might be an explanation.
To be continued..........