The principle behind the gravitywheel

Unlike almost all historic and current researchers, Johann Bessler’s gravity-driven wheel operated under a different principle in order to induce rotation by gravity.  To date, designs have mostly relied on the understanding that moving weights closer to, or further from, the centre of rotation, depending on whether the particular side of the wheel is rising or falling, would overbalance the wheel. This, it is still believed, will, with the correct manipulation of a number of weights, by various means, lead to continuous rotation.  After more than 300 years of failures designed in accordance with this system, one must conclude that it is wrong.

The principle upon which Bessler’s gravity-driven wheel relied is derived from parametric oscillation.  A well known example of a parametric oscillator is a child on a swing. Periodically changing the child's centre of gravity relative to the pivot to which the swing is attached, during each oscillation of the swing, can maintain or amplify them.  In other words by rocking back or forwards, they ‘pump’ the swing.

The swing operates in a similar way to a pendulum - that is, one with a bob suspended by a metal rod from a pivot - with one major difference, the swing can be pumped to maintain or increase the strength of each oscillation, whereas the pendulum will oscillate with decreasing amplitude until it stops in equilibrium. The child sitting on the swing seat which is attached to the swing pivot is equivalent to the pendulum and its bob.

fig 1aAlthough the standard method of pumping a swing requires that the child sit on the swing seat, another more interesting method for our purposes, is where the child stands on the seat and lowers or raises  his or her body by bending the knees at the right moment and straightening them again.  This is a more effective method of altering the pendulum length.  The adjacent drawing fig 1, attempts to show this technique.  There are four figures each standing on a seat.  The one nearest to the 4.30 position has bent his knees to lower his centre of gravity.  The other three have straight legs and a centre of gravity which is closer to the swing pivot.  Although it isn’t the centre of mass of the child, the position of the blue ball that represents the child’s head, does show how a part of the body can be moved to lengthen or shorten the pendulum.

When a single swing is pumped back and forth in this manner, as can be seen in the next drawing,  fig 2, the path of the centre of the child’s mass must follow the path shown.  When swinging from right to left, from three o’clock to six o’clock, tfig 2a & 2bhe knees are bent to lower the centre of gravity.  As soon as the midpoint has passed (the six o’clock position), the legs must be straightened quickly to raise the centre of gravity.  The same action is done for the return part of the oscillation, with the knees bent to begin with and then straightened again  after the mid point has been passed.  This can be seen for one direction of a half oscillation in the lower drawing fig 2b. The upper drawing fig 2a, shows the to and fro oscillation of the centre of gravity of the child. This would not be of any use in a gravitywheel and the oscillations would have to reduced to half an oscillation in order to make progress on the rotating wheel as is shown in the lower drawing in fig 2b.

There is an interesting sport known by the name ‘kiiking’ which demonstrates the principle ikiiking1nvolved in Bessler’s wheel.  ‘Kiiking’, was invented in Estonia by Ado Kosk around 1996. In Estonian, ‘kiik’ means ‘swing’. In kiiking, the swing arms are made of rigid steel to enable a person to swing through 360 degrees passing over the pivot bar of the swing, fig 3. The person swinging is fastened to the seat by their feet in order to support them as the swing goes upside down during one complete rotation. In order to swing he (or she) begins to pump it by alternately squatting and standing up on the swing. The swing gains momentum and can rotate right around the pivot bar. Google ‘kiiking’ for more information. 

It quickly becomes self-evident that an additional swing seat on rigid arms fixed to the pivot, diametrically opposite the first one , will not only balance the first one but assist in turning the combined swings.

The same method shown in figs 1, and 2a and 2b, above, are used b Kosk’s swinging, namely squatting from after the twelve o’clock position and then standing as quickly as possible at the six o’clock position. 

As confirmation that this is also a feature of his owns wheel, Bessler included the adjacent drawing in his ‘Das Triumphans…’, and I have included a lightened version next to the original with the actual path accentuated in black. It bears obvious similarities with fig 2b. and as there is no accompanying text it’s function is assumed to be decorative.  Both the published and the unpublished works of Bessler are strewn with clues both textual and graphic and when there is no apparent reason for their inclusion, such as is the case with this one, it is safe to assume that it has been included for some purpose not cosmetic. That purpose, I ayin yangm certain, is to point the attention of the reader to the fig 4mechanics of the swing.  The path drawn in fig 2a has been repeated several times to obtain what appears at first sight to be nothing more than simple adornment.

This double curve is present in the infinity symbol as shown at the top of this page and also in the yin yang symbol, which is why I chose it as my avatar on I wanted to present a clue that would by-pass the attention of the majority of people but be available to people, post disclosure of my theory about the gravitywheel. I said earlier that I believed that the principle upon which Bessler’s gravity-driven wheel relied is derived from parametric oscillation, or forced swinging. I first expressed my interest in this subject on the besslerwheel forum in April 2004 and subsequently found that Scott Ellis, the owner of the forum, had posted some interesting facts about it back in March 2002 at In fact it was professor Hal Puthoff who, in some private correspondence between us, originally suggested that I look into this physical phenomenon as he felt that there were some potentially interesting parallels between his own work in optical parametric oscillation and Bessler’s wheel.

A closer look at the mechanics of this action reveals additional information which is supported by the reported details of Bessler’s wheel. 


Copyright © 2010 John Collins

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