quotes
welcome to orffyre.com
Copyright 2003 - 2007 W.G.McMurtry all rights reserved
...

'Never did I hear a word of praise, though I was criticised from all directions. But I never changed, never once wavered, because a single word could have betrayed my wondrous achievement.' - Bessler, 1715.

...

'...I have some very important news for you. A man of the medical profession, called Orffyreus, has constructed an alleged perpetual motion machine in the nearby village of Draschwitz, to which he recently moved. This machine was shown to Mr. Buchta and I. It is a hollow wheel of wood, ten feet in diameter, and 6 inches thick. It is covered by thin wooden planks in order to hide the internal mechanism. The axle is also wooden, and extends one foot beyond the wheel. It has three teeth which are for moving three wooden stamps similar to those used in pounding mills. The stamps are quite heavy and are lifted and dropped continuously. The iron journals move in open bearings so as to show that neither deception nor an external energy supply are necessary to the machine's motion.
Having made an appointment with the inventor, we approached the machine and noticed that it was secured by a cord to the rim of the wheel. Upon the cord being released, the machine began to rotate with great force and noise, maintaining its speed without increasing or decreasing it for some considerable time. To stop the wheel and retie the cords required tremendous effort. The inventor is asking for one hundred thousand Thalers to reveal the mechanism or sell the machine.' - Letter from Teuber to Leibniz, 19th January, 1714.

...

'...A perpetual motion has been built by Orffyreus, a man skilled in the art of Medicine, from which he derives a living; and in Chemistry and Mechanics in which he is versatile... the perpetual motion which our Orffyreus built, has been seen by thousands of people, including experienced mathematicians and mechanics and they were all full of admiration. The mechanism, for which the inventor expects a sum of money, is carefully hidden, and is said to be simple. The diameter does not exceed five Leipzig ells (9.3 feet) nor does it exceed six inches in thickness. Over a period of one minute, fifty revolutions were observed and the wheel rotated whilst freely suspended with no apparent external source of power. It can provide impulse to remote mechanisms and easily lift weights of sixty to seventy pounds to a considerable height, in a repetative, equable and continuous movement. This noble invention has been displayed to the public by the inventor in the village of Draschwitz, not far from the town of Zeitz; but he is considering moving to a new location.' - Acta Eruditorum, Christian Wolff, 1715.

...

'An illness which has afflicted the famous Mr. Orffyreus has prevented him from exhibiting, at the Easter Leipzig Fair, as he wished to do, a new and larger version of the true perpetual motion machine, invented by him. It will be of interest to the public to know that the famous inventor has just informed us that he has brought to perfection a new perpetual motion machine. It was finished with God's help, just before the recent Whitsun Holiday, in his rooms in the Green Manor by the sixth Gate.
The machine is similar to the one constructed in Draschwitz a year ago, and is in the form of a wheel. However, the present machine is slightly larger, having a diameter of six Leipzig ells, (11.15 feet) and a thickness of half an ell, (11.15 inches). The axle or shaft on which the wheel is fixed averages six inches thickness and is six feet long. The continuous impulse attributed to this very useful and ingeniuos machine, is independent of any hidden power source or drive. According to the original factual description given by the "Leipzig Gazette" on the 3rd November last year, the rotation is caused, without any evidence of fraud, exclusively by its own internal power and artful design. It moves in a fast, strong and uniform rotation as long as the materials from which it is made, ie., wood, metal etc. last. A considerable force has to be applied to brake or stop the machine. Having put into motion its own mechanism, the power is sufficient to raise high or pull a load of approximately one hundred weight. To demonstrate its effectiveness, four stampers of considerable weight have now been attached. They are lifted by means of eight cams fixed to the shaft, and at each revolution they are lifted twice. Consider how much more such a perpetuum mobile could do if, in the future, a larger one was constructed and by combining several machines have its power multiplied; or it could be applied to other mathematical inventions...
This new perpetual mobile has something unique and extremely valuable about it that was not found in the Draschwitz model; it can rotate in either direction as desired. As a result it can, turning to the left or the right, wind a load up or down, in or out as necessary. However, to start it, a preliminary push or help by hand is needed...' -  Leipzig Post Zeitungen, published for week of 24th - 30th June , 1715.

...

'If Mr. Gartner has already detected Orffyreus' artifice he should be able to imitate it. As far as I am concerned, as I have said often, I do not regard that movement to be solely mechanical but stemming from some physical principle. But what it is I can still not puzzle out. It will be useful because the machine can exhibit considerable energy for an extended length of time. In which case, I cannot call this work of skill a fraud, if it is able to deliver what is expected of it...' - Gottfried Leibniz, August 1715.

...

'I do not think Mr. Gartner will easily discover Mr. Orffyreus' secret. I also do not think it is purely perpetual motion, because I believe that to be impossible. If it is, then the machine could be enlarged to give much greater power. But I suspect that there is some physical principle behind it because its power is quite limited.' - Gottfried Leibniz, 5th October, 1715.

...

'The inventor first put in motion his six ells (11.15 feet) in diameter and one foot thick machine, which was still resting on the same wooden support upon which it had previously been mounted. It was stopped and re-started, turned both left and right as many times as was requested by the members of the Commission, or the spectators. The machine was started by a very light push with just two fingers and accelerated as soon as one of the weights, hidden inside, bagan to fall. Within about one revolution, the machine had aquired a strong and even rotation, even when a box was lifted, which had been filled with six whole bricks weighing together about seventy pounds. The weight was lifted by means of a rope conducted through a window by means of a pulley, eight ells (14.8 feet) upwards to the roof, and several Clafter (1 Clafter is about 8.2 feet) down into the yard. The box was lifted as many times as requested.
Furthermore the inventor, Orffyreus, in front of everybody, lifted the perpetual motion machine described above, from its original wooden support. The timber posts were carefully examined both from the top and bottom as well as in the middle, particularly where a small cut was noticed. The same careful examination was devoted to the iron journals of the shaft and to the bearings. However there was not the least vestige of suspicion of fraud observed.
By way of additional proof about its internal motive power, the perpetual motion machine was translocated to another support in such a way that the whole assembly could see over and under, and both sides of the machine; and all present were invited to visit the bearings, but no holes were found, all present examined them with their eyes, but no sign of fraud was there seen. It was possible to translocate the machine and turn it left and right as many times as was asked by the assembled respectable Commission. The machine regained its strong, even and fast rotation each time. The movement was accompanied by quite a loud noise caused by the internal mechanism which lasted until the machine was brought to a forced stop. Nothing suspicious was found.
Finally, it should be noted that right from the start, before the machine was subjected to any testing, all rooms above, below and on either side were examined by the Commission. It was also verified that the stamps were not hollow, and no indication of any mechanism moved by a cord was found.
All that has been written above is the truth, and has been acknowledged by signatures in our own hand without any reservations. This certificate was issued at the respectful, obedient and proper request of the Inventor' - Certificate for wheel tested at Merseburg, signed 31st October, 1715.

...

'Firstly, the inventor showed us all around and overwhelmingly demonstrated that his perpetual motion machine had no hidden cord as was falsely alleged. The circular machine is about six ells in diameter and has a thickness of about one foot. The inventor started it with the merest little effort. As soon as just one of the internal weights began to fall, the machine started to revolve with such strength that it turned forty of more times a minute, and could only be stopped with great difficulty... the most extaordinary thing I noticed was that the machine showed the same strength and speed during the lifting and lowering of the load... A thorough examination was performed firstly by His Graces Commission, and then by me, together with the officials from the Regional Office and Court. During this examination, not the smallest cavity or defect was found. Because of this, everyone was convinced that the impulse must be maintained from within the machine. Then the machine, now on another support, was started again by an equally gentle push, as described above, and again attained the same fast acceleration. All the mathematicians and other intellectually curious people present observed this and were filled with admiration. The entire machine received the highest praise from all, and the inventor was freed of all the false accusations, suspicions and doubts.' - Johann Weisse, Distict Magistrate, report on Merseburg wheel examination, 31st October, 1715.

...

'When Orffyreus exhibited the extraordinary machine which he had built, to refute the malicious rumours being spread that it is fraudulent, I was deliberately present. The mechanic, Gartner, in particular, who is so famous for his many celebrated mechanical inventions, has distributed in public a copper-engraving on which is a slanderous picture showing how Orffyreus' machine was moved by means of a cord from an adjoining room. We have demonstrated that in reality Orffyreus' wheel is far removed from any such deception. The investigation was conducted in the presence of representatives from the Court of the Duke and other guests. When the machine was ready to rotate, all adjacent rooms were opened and the bearings were completely uncovered. To prevent anyone accidentally seeing the internal structure of the machine, he covered it. Whilst he did this, he did not disguise the fact that the mechanism is moved by weights. Several such weights, wrapped in his handkerchief, he let us weigh in our hands to estimate their weight. They were judged to be about four pounds each, and their shape was definately cylindrical.
I conclude, not only from this but also from other circumstantial evidence, that the weights are attached to some moveable or elastic arms on the periphery of the wheel. During rotation, one  can clearly hear the weights hitting against the wooden boards. I was able to observe these through a slit. They are slightly elongated. When he put the wheel onto another support and reinstalled the weights in their previous positions, he pushed down on an iron spring that gave a loud noise as it expanded upwards. I therefore presume that there is no doubt that the wheel is moved by an internal source of power, but we cannot necessarily assume that it is perpetual. Furthermore, the machine may be of little value to the public unless it can be improved. At the moment it can lift a weight of sixty pounds, but to achieve this the pulley had to be reduced more than four times, making the lifting quite slow. The diameter of the wheel is about twelve feet, and as well, the bearing was quite thin, about one quarter of an inch and only a sixth of its length was subject to friction.' - Christian Wolff, letter to Leibniz, examination of Merseburg wheel, 19th December, 1715.

...

'I spoke with Mr. Orffyreus, who is about to move to Kassel. He has high hopes that, with the support and authority of His Serene Highness, many eminent princes will be approached, and he will be able to get a just reward. But to achieve this, he should allow the machine to run for as long as two weeks.' - Gottfried Leibniz, letter to Teuber, 3rd August, 1716.

...

'... to subject said machine to Our noble gaze in person and, when it has commenced revolving, to watch carefully over it and, in order to forestall all possible furure reservations and doubts, to board and seal up all access points through which the machine could be reached and tampered with, and as well, post a guard at each such point. Furthermore, that after the passage of an agreed suitable period of time, We should favour him, Orffyreus, with the granting of a document of princely testimony and letters of patronage thereunto relating; the which he has great need of for his own defence and for the rebuttal of unfounded criticism... from a love of truth, and from a desire to establish the true facts relating to this most important work. In pursuit of which We shall leave nothing undone... This machine emphatically confirmed the claims made for it when, to Our not inconsiderable pleasure, it successfully completed the long awaited month's test, and what is more, did it twice. After the device had been observed in operation for three months by many people, of this district and from elsewhere, of high rank and of low, We finally, on the 12th November of last year, 1717, ordered it to be sealed up and left to run for a fortnight. Then, in person and accompanied by some of Our ministers, we again betook Ourselves, on the 26th November, to the appointed place, and there We opened the seals, which We verified were undisturbed. We carefully observed each and everything We saw and, with Our own hands, We brought to rest the machine We had seen revolving at exactly its original speed. With little effort required, and without the assistance of the inventor We set the machine in motion once more. We then sealed up the machine once more, and all the windows and doors in the room and adjoining areas. Then a full six weeks after all this success, during which period no-one was able to get to the machine, namely on the 4th Day of January of the year 1718, by God's grace newly arrived, We again betook Ourselves to our castle at Weissenstein, whereupon We not only recognised Our impressed seals to be totally inviolate, but also found the Orffyrean Perpetuum Mobile to be continuing just as before in its uninterupted motion. In addition We found, neither inside the room itself, nor outside the slightest sign of anything suspicious. And so, even though the inventor willingly offered a longer period of running, notwithstanding the fact that the period demanded by his adversary, namely four weeks, had already stretched to eight, We graciously deemed that such an extension was unnecessary for the granting of Our written atteatation...' - from Certificate issued by Karl, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, 27th May, 1718.

...

'Inward structure of the wheel is of a nature according to the laws of perpetual motion, so arranged that certain disposed weights once in rotation, gain force from their own swinging, and must continue their movement as long as their structure does not lose its position and arrangement. 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, on the contrary these weights are the essential parts and constitute perpetual motion itself; as 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, so arranged that they can never obtain equilibrium, or the punctum quietus which they unceasingly seek in their wonderfully speedy flight, one or another of them must apply its weight vertically to the axis, which in its turn must also move.' - Das Triumphirende Perpetuum Mobile, Bessler, 1719.

...

'...It is a wheel which is twelve feet in diameter, covered with an oil-cloth. At every turn of the wheel can be heard the sound of about eight weights, which fall gently on the side towards which the wheel turns. This wheel turns with astonishing rapidity, making twenty-six turns in a minute, when the axle works unrestricted. Having tied a cord to the axle, to turn an archimedean screw for raising water, the wheel then made twenty turns a minute. This I noted several times by my watch, and I always found the same regularity. I then stopped the wheel with much difficulty, holding on to the circumference with both hands. An attempt to stop it suddenly would raise a man from the ground.
Having stopped it in this manner, it remained stationary (and this Sir, is the greatest proof of it being a Perpetual Motion), I commenced the movement very gently to see if it would of itself regain its former rapidity, which I doubted, believing as they said in London, that it only preserved for a long time the impetus of the impulse first communicated. But to my astonishment I observed that the rapidity of the wheel augmented little by little until it had made two turns, and then it regained its former speed, until I observed by my watch that it made the same twenty-six turns a minute as before, when acting freely; and twenty turns when it was attached to the screw to raise water.
This experiment, Sir, showing the rapidity of the wheel augmenting from the very slow movement I gave it, to an extraordinary rapid one, convinces me more that if I had seen the wheel moving for a whole year, which would not have persuaded me that it was perpetual motion, because it might have diminished little by little until it ceased altogether; but to gain speed instead of losing it, and to increase that speed to a certain degree in spite of the resistance of air and the friction of the axles, I do not see how anyone can doubt the truth of this action. I then turned it in the opposite direction, and the wheel produced the same effect. I examined the bearings of this wheel to see if there was any hidden artifice; but was unable to see anything more than the two small bearings on which the wheel is suspended at its centre.
His Highness, who possesses all the qualities that a great prince should have, has always had consideration for the inventor, and will not use the machine in any way for fear of the secret being discovered before the inventor had received a reward from foreigners. His Highness, who has a perfect inderstanding of mathematics, assured me that the machine is so simple that a carpenter's boy could understand and make it after having seen the inside of this wheel, and that he would not risk his name in giving these attestations, if he did not have knowledge of the machine...' - letter from Joseph Fischer to J.T. Desaguliers, 1721.

...

'...The inventor has a turn for mechanics, but is far from being a profound mathematician, and yet his machine has something in it prodigiously astounding, even though it should be an imposition. The following description of the external parts of the machine, the inside of which the inventor will not permit to be seen, lest anyone should rob him of his secret. It is a hollow wheel or kind of drum, about fourteen inches thick, and twelve feet in diameter; being very light as it consists of several pieces of wood framed together; the whole of which is covered over with canvas, to prevent the inside from being seen. Through the centre of this wheel or drum runs an axle of about six inches diameter, terminated at both ends by iron bearings of about three-quarters of an inch diameter upon which the whole thing turns. I have examined these bearings, and am firmly persuaded that hothing from without the wheel in the least contributes to its motion. When I turned it but gently, it always stood still as soon as I took my hand away. But when I gave it any tolerable degree of velocity, I was always obliged to stop it again by force; for when I let it go, it acquired in two or three turns its greatest velocity, after which it revolved at twenty-five or twenty-six times a minute. This motion was preserved some time ago for two months, in an apartment of the castle; the door and windows of which were locked and sealed, so that there was no possibility of fraud. At the expiration of that time, His Serene Highness ordered the apartment to be opened, and the machine stopped, lest, as it was only a model, the parts might suffer by so much testing. The Landgrave being, himself, present during my examination of this machine, I took the liberty to ask him, as he had seen the inside of it, whether, after being in motion for a certain time, some alteration was made in the component parts; or whether one of these parts might be suspected of concealing some fraud; on which His Serene Highness assured me to the contrary, and that the machine was very simple...' - letter from Willem Jacob 'sGravesande to Sir Isaac Newton, 1721.

...

'...I can tell you that His Serene Highness the Landgrave has seen the interior structure of the wheel and gave the inventor a payment of 4000 thalers, together with his word of honour, never to communicate the secret to anyone or to imitate it for himself. Thus it may be correctly assumed that the wheel is moved by some internal principle. However, I have already shown in my Mathematical Lexicon, under the heading 'Perpetuum Mobile' that, up to the present time, we cannot assume that it will have any special advantage because it does not have enough force to do anything. Of course it is possible that the invention could be further improved if it was put into the hands of an expert mathematician. The inventor achieved success through laborious experimentation, but is unable to discover what power lies within it...' - letter from Christian Wolff to Laurentius Blumentrost, 20th January, 1720.

...

'...1. To begin with, it would appear to be beyond doubt that Orffyreus' wheel is not moved by any imaginable external force but rather, its movement is due to the internal weights which are applied in a special manner. My reasons for arriving at this conclusion are:

a) I saw, myself,  that the wheel began to rotate with speed and uniformity, without any appreciable external thrust or push until it was slowed from outside. Any attempt at fraud from outside was impossible because the wheel bearings were uncovered on both sides and one could see the axle journals turning in their bearings. Upon request, the wheel was moved from its stand and put on another one.
b) Before translocating the wheel, the Inventor who was performing the test for the officially appointed Commissioners, took out the weights and permitted one of them to be touched, wrapped in a handkerchief. He did not allow the weight to be touched on the end, but lengthwise, it felt cylindrical and not very thick. One could hear the weights landing on the overbalanced side, as though they were swinging, from which one can assume that the overbalancing was caused by their impact. Furthermore there is the testimony of the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, who is experienced in evaluating mechanical inventions and had seen the internal mechanism of the wheel and ran it for many weeks in a locked room, keeping the keys himself, having personally locked and sealed the doors and windows with his own seal. He testified both verbally and in an officially printed certificate that the movement of the wheel was caused by nothing more than the weights and that it would run continuously unless the internal structure of the wheel was altered.
2. Since it is impossible, according to mathematical proof, for a machine to run continuously by its own force, some matter from outside must contribute to its motion. That matter can not be perceived by any of the senses but could be made use of by people who know nature better. I suggest, therefore, that the weights on the wheel's periphery are attached by rods in such a way that when at rest on the lighter side of the wheel, they can be lifted, but when they start to fall, after the wheel has turned, they deliver a force on impact, acquired during the fall, onto a piece of wood which is fixed to the periphery. In this way, the wheel is put into rotation by the impact of the weights, which can be heard. But the force which drives the weights, does not come from the machine itself, rather it comes from some fluid, invisible matter by which the movement of the falling weights becomes faster and faster. Orffyreus' whole invention consists of an artful arrangement of weights, in such a way that they are lifted when at rest and acquire force during their fall, and in my opinion it is this that he keeps secret. This is also consistant with what Orffyreus says, that anyone could easily understand his invention, as soon as he is allowed to look into the wheel.
3. It is possible therefore, that when the internal structure of the wheel has been revealed, some mathematicians may decide that it is not a perpetual motion machine as there is an additional force involved, namely the unknown substance which applies continuous pressure to heavy bodies when they fall, and which adds to the force of their impact...' - letter from Christian Wolff to Johann Daniel Schumacher, 3rd July, 1722.

...

Orffyreus commented that when the secret is revealed, he is afraid that people will complain that the idea is so simple it is not worth the asking price.

...

Thanks to John Collins for providing quotes from his book
"Pertpetual Motion - An Ancient Mystery Solved?"

...
go to top of page