Professor 'sGravesande Defends the Orffyreus Case.
fact, the events described in previous pages marked the peak of the Orffyreus’ life and what then followed was a constant
regress in the life of inventor. The years 1726 - 1727 were again a difficult year for Orffyreus. In 1726 his wife died. His
mother, Maria also died in July or August 1727.Although he married again, he
never got the same support from his second wife, and had to face more problems and troubles in the years to come.Moreover, because of the old age of Count Karl, Orffyreus lost his active support, which allowed his enemies,
particularly Gärtner and gang; to do everything they could to discredit him again..
Let us learn few things
about Orffyreus' maidservant and their relationship that marked a turning point in life of Orffyreus.
ORFFYREUS’ MAID SERVANT
Around 1711, among those who frequented visited Orffyreus' house, was a young deprived woman, Anne Rosine
who, for some time past, appeared musing and in deep melancholy. Pained to see her in that state, one day Orffyreus called
on her. “I do not wish,' said Orffyreus, ' to pry into a secret you did not wish to unburden your heart to me, but I
see you are very much depressed, sorrowful, and your situation makes me both uneasy and unhappy. I know you are not rich,
and I understand you may have wants, which you cannot disclose me. I bring you few
Reichsthalers, which you need more than
me. You will certainly not refuse them if you feel any friendship for me; and by-and-by, when you find yourself in better
circumstances, you will return them.” This woman, moved to tears by the generosity of the action, assured him that she
did not want money but her disappointment had another cause, and therefore could not accept his offer. However, she expressed
her gratitude that she would never forget the kindness, which Orffyreus bestowed upon her.
One day when Anne saw
Orffyreus returning back his home with something like a scissors’ jack in his hand, she went near and wanted to know
what was that machine he carried inhis hands and out of her curiosity she also
enquired aboutother weird machines in his home. At this, Orffyreus thought better
to reply her with a demonstration, instead of mere words, so in a flash when Orffyreus stretched scissors’ jack in front
of her its levers almost reached the place where Anne was standing and for a moment the sudden act also frightened her as
she thought that the machine was going to incise her nose. Gazing her eyes at the zigzag pattern of levers, Anne once again
amusingly asked: ‘Did you make it to catch fishes for me?’ Hearing it, Orffyreus laughed and nodded his head.He thought it would be useless to explain her everything about his secret work.
Though Anne had very
closely seen the entire development of the over-balancing wheels in its different versions at the various places, Orffyreus
was quite sure that she had no sufficient acumen to understand the real designs of his machines. He was convinced that it
was beyond her intelligence to understand the working mechanism of his machine. Orffyreus was also surprised to see that she
had no big concern over the secret about which he had been cautious since he had discovered perpetual motion. Orffyreus also
deliberately confused her maid so that she could never know exact working of the wheel. One theory is that Orffyreus himself
deliberately fabricated the story to divert the maid servant mind that motive power of the wheel came from the hidden mechanism
consisting of a thin wire that extended from the axle of the machine to the adjacent room where from wheel could be manually
turned, in this way Orffyreus fooled his maid to think that wheel was being turned manually. Orffyreus might have also provided
his maid an opportunity to do so, so that she would supposedly spread that.
servant sometimes helped Orffyreus in the construction of wheel, inserting nails into the levers, tying rope and fastening
the wheel when Orffyreus was loading heavy weights. From proximity, all that she could know about the Orffyreus and his machine
was that he was engaged in a big mission of some secret nature and its success would make Orffyreus a big man someday. Since
she also saw her own future in the success of Orffyreus and his works, wholeheartedly, she took interest in Orffyreus’
mission and often prayed for the success of his works.
Anyhow, the year
1726 marked a turning point in the their relationship. After the death of Orffyreus’ wife in the year, Anne by the time
had large hopes and wanted to marry Orffyreus. When Orffyreus kept on constantly avoiding marriage, Anne almost threatened
him that she would take a revenge.Since her manners and dispositions were always
child like, Orffyreus never took the threat seriously and all that Orffyreus could do was to remind her abide by the oath
that was written on a paper. When in 1727 Anne knew it clear that Orffyreus would marry other woman, she decided to disgrace
Orffyreus. Even before Orffyreus felt forced to dismiss the maidservant, she left Orffyreus’ home. Anne had been since
1711 in the services of Orffyreus and he was 38 years old at the time of sad departure of her maidservant. When maid departed, Orffyreus could not sleep the following night, he was terrified to have thought that
maid would break the oath and his secret could be lost forever. Maid left the home with oath Orffyreus made her swear second
time on paper however, Orffyreus could not understand why maid did bother to
take paper with her on which oath was written. It read:
Source: "An Ancient Mystery Solved?" By Collins
Alleged Secret of Orffyreus' wheel
On 28th November 1727 Gartner somehow managed to get Orffyreus’ maid, Anne Rosine Mauersbergerin
to sign a statement according to which she had been turning the machine from the adjacent room through a concealed mechanism.
Orffyreus’ maid testified to authorities that Orffyreus, his wife, his brother Gottfried and herself had turned all
of his wheels manually. She stated a small crank in an adjoining room carried out the turning.She claimed the posts had been hollowed out and contained a long and thin piece of iron with a barb at the bottom,
which was attached to the shaft journal.
Orffyreus was arrested for fraud;
this stopped him from further promoting his machine.The maids’ accusations
were discredited and the charges were dismissed, he was set free but Orffyreus’ reputation was permanently damaged.
The following copy extant in achieves describes
the whole conspiracy against Orffyreus:
Anne Rosine Mauersbergerin, born in Drebach near Annaberg in Saxony and now 38 years of age, stated that she had served him
for many years, since 1711, and knew the full facts and circumstances surrounding the Orffyrean wheel. It had been turned
manually from its very beginnings in Gera and had never moved by itself; even in places such as Merseburg and Weissenstein
when it had been locked; Orffyreus, his wife, his brother Gottfried and herself, the maid, had taken turns to rotate the machine.
He had promised her 2 Groschen for each hour of turning, and she had received 9 Reichsthalers as a salary only a few months
ago. Gottfried, who had done most of the turning, had received 100
Reichsthalers. She was made to turn the wheel by night
and day, since it was feared that someone might look to see if it was still rotating at night. When the Archimedean screw
had been attached to it as well, it had become very heavy to turn. The posts had been hollowed out and contained a long thin
piece of iron with a barb at the bottom which - according to the statement - was attached to the shaft journal. Turning was
carried out from Orffyreus’ bedroom, which was close to the machine, on a shelf behind the bed. If they would take her
to the house and room in Weissenstein, she would be able to show how everything had been arranged. The strip of iron had been
forged by the Court Blacksmith in Kassel. She, the maid, Gottfried, his brother, Orffyreus’ wife and daughter…had
all been forced to swear a terrible oath which she had kept in the original, drawn up by his own hand and of which copies
“When the wheel had to be turned by day and night for eight weeks in Weissenstein, she once complained
that she could not carry on like this, particularly as it happened in the winter’s cold. He replied that she should
not fret and promised to pay her so that she would be content. On being asked how he could have instructed people turning
the machine to stop it or start it up again or make it change its direction of rotation when he, himself, was in another room
and in the presence of strangers who had come to see the wheel, she replied that she had recognised his wishes either from
his manually starting the wheel or from his coughing, clearing his throat, spitting or a similar sign. He had initially refused
to pay her the outstanding money due to her for turning the wheel, but when she threatened to lodge a formal complaint in
Kassel and tell all, he finally consented to pay her.”
author of the book " An ancient mystery solved?”rejects the allegations
in following words.
“...You couldn’t even make the wheel move if you had to apply force through the
bearings!To believe that anyone would be able to operate a mechanism for six
hours a day for two months without rest beggars belief, always assuming you could actually turn the thing.Further investigation convinced me that she was part of a conspiracy involving the people that the inventor
constantly referred to as his ‘enemies’.We know who they were and
they had good reasons for trying to discredit Bessler.The house cleaner’s
affidavit, on closer examination is clearly a record of a question and answer session.It is easy reading between the lines to see that an official, following accusations that she made, was closely questioning
her.The answers are responses to questions, and it is clear that she made some
of them up as she went along.But this affidavit has been produced time after
time as evidence of Bessler’s duplicity, and yet he was released without charge."”
'sGravesande also responded in strong
terms to the maid's allegations:
“...They say that a servant
under oath, turned Orffyreus' machine, she being in an adjoining room. I know perfectly well that Orffyreus is mad, but I
have no reason to think him an imposter... This I know, as certainly as anything in the world, that if the servant says the
above, she tells a great falsehood... [During the examination,] I ordered the machine be dismounted from its supports, and
we saw the bearings uncovered. I examined the bearings on which the journals rested and there did not appear any trace of
communication with the adjoining room. I remember very distinctly the whole set of circumstances regarding that investigation...”
's Gravesande had already checked Orffyreus’ machine and acknowledged its merit but when the rumor of
fraud was spread, 's Gravesande integrity came under question. Professor boldly maintained his position and didn’t
escape into flimsy excuses. In fact, after Orffyreus examination of wheel he became more convinced of the creation of perpetual
motion by human hands. Let's say, in the mechanical area. As far as
(Al)chemy was concerned, he still expected unknown possibilities
to reach that aim. Later, Gravesande wrote about the machine for another 20 years until 1742. None of this, however, did much
help to Orffyreus’ reputation. Few authors mention that Orffyreus was rebuilding his machine in 1727, and that 's Gravesande
had agreed to examine it again.But there is no record that it was ever tested.
Professor wrote about his concern
to reward the Orffyreus:
“The question of the possibility or impossibility
of perpetual motion, then, seems to me to be of little consequence; but it is desirable that the strong belief which mathematicians
have regarding its impossibility should not prevent them from paying serious attention to such a machine as the astonishing
wheel of Kassel; a wheel having the principle of internal movement, and which is moved by the slightest effort, turning either
way without any necessity to reverse the motive power; lastly, after making some millions of surprisingly rapid turns, continues
in its motion until stopped by a strong effort of the arm. It appears to me that such a machine merits some praise, even if
it does not satisfy all its inventor’s representations. If it is perpetual motion, he deserves the recompense he asks;
if not, the public may, nevertheless, discover here a beautiful invention.”
The author of “Forbidden Inventions” George Egely also refutes the charges
against Orffyreus as follows:
course, after reading this document, we must decide for ourselves who was lying: the maid or Orffyreus? This was the age of
witchcraft trials, when hundreds of thousands of people were forced to plead guilty to having made a deal with the devil,
having had intercourse with the devil, having ridden a broom on Witch Sabbaths, or having had sexual relations with the incubus.
Such confessions were extorted throughout the 18th century. (Even in the late 1990s here in Eastern Europe, we
were able to read confessions from devoted communists who, after a good beating, ‘admitted’ to being agents for
the Imperialists, to have spied for the CIA or to have had a Fascist past.) We know of a wide range of forced confessions,
so there is no particular point in dealing with the question above: rather, we should focus instead on whether or not there
is consistency in the testimonies. Of course, genuine evidence for Orffyreus' trustworthiness would be available if we could
reproduce his device here and now. Obviously we do not believe that the device is irreproducible. The unambiguous evidence
will only be available if we are able to construct an accurate reproduction or a similar machine as soon as we understand
its principal mechanism. (Towards the end of the next chapter I intend to show this, but now let us return to the testimony
of the maid.)
There are several disturbing facts. First of all, the testimony cannot explain the fact that the wheel had been
relocated from one place to another several times and in front of several witnesses, and that the axle and the supporting
posts had been thoroughly examined every time. Furthermore, even if the members of the commission had been blind or notorious
liars, doubt would still remain about the practical possibility of turning a shaft 1.5 cm in diameter with a barbed rack and
a rope. On a smooth shaft journal with such a small radius, a barbed rack could not transmit a large torque. Even if the shaft
journal had been cogged, it would have been problematic to power the wheel like this, since at that time neither court blacksmiths
nor the best mechanics could make a matching cog-wheel and barbed iron with such precision and with loading capacity sufficient
to carry out the task. Knowing of what poor quality the iron forged at the time was, it was impossible that the power required
by the wheel could have been satisfied by a barbed rack on such a small radius. Another perplexing circumstance is how a continuous
unidirectional motion could be maintained with a piece of barbed iron; a further problem is how a cog-wheel could be turned
by a rope. None of the witnesses saw cogs on the axle. It seems obvious, therefore, that the written testimony is as obscure
and controversial as frame-up files are in general.”
We know Orffyreus constantly referred to his enemies who could go any extent to fabricate a false story
against him to discredit his invention.It seems that besides Gartner and Orffyreus’
maidservant many other people were also involved in conspiracy and they all were bent upon undermining the credibility of
Orffyreus as a genuine inventor of perpetual motion machine.For example, man
called Crowsaz also acted like an archenemy without any obvious reason, he wrote venomously against Orffyreus.
“...First Orffyreus is a fool, second it is impossible that a fool can have discovered what such a number of
people have searched for without success, third, I do not believe in impossibilities.... fifth the servant who ran away from
his house for fear of being strangled, has in her possession, in writing, the terrible oath that Orffyreus made her swear;
sixth, he only had to have asked in order to have had this girl imprisoned, until he had time to finish his machine ...eighth,
it is true that there is a machine at the house , to which they give the name of perpetual motion , but that is small one
and cannot be removed”.
remarks we see that Crowsaz alludes to the same maidservant who took key part in conspiracy underthe influence of Gartner. House cleaner’s affidavit, which contains a record of question answer
session between the official and the maid, has been produced from time to time as the only evidence against the Orffyreus.
Unfortunately, she has been deliberately chosen and consigned an important role by all those authors and historians who intentionally
forget all the respectable evidence in favor of Orffyreus and only cling to the false charges made by the maidservant to discredit
the whole story. Again and again, they are not tired of mentioning maidservant in their writings to prove that Orffyreus was
a fraud because maidservant had in her possession, in writing, the terrible oath that Orffyreus made her swear that he had
turned the machine from an adjoining room and thus played a trick.During official
tests, hundreds of highly respected and impartial people carefully examined the bearings and attested to the fact that no
sign of fraud could be found, even when the wheel was moved from one set of supports to another. Regardless, the maid's testimony
forever tarnished Orffyreus ' reputation.
the beginning of the 18th century, there used to be rarely mercy with frauds. Any one
who deceived their sovereigns had a death penalty.In1709, Cajetano, the gold-maker, was "raised"
- at the gallows. Gärtner
and his gang probably knew this fact so they invented the whole story.
“ There are, of course, people who are satisfied with any lie, lest they have to face the truth. Further, it
is true that Orffyreus himself indirectly contributed to the spreading of this lie by his compulsive secretiveness, by not
revealing the working principle, the secret of the mechanism. The life of this inventor follows the usual path: he loses his
patron, he is left alone in his fight, he becomes lonely and embittered, and poverty inevitably follows.”
:"An Ancient Mystery Solved?" By
“ Forbiden Invention – Chapter I “The
The website http://www.besslerrad.de/ provides us detailed information about murder story of a baby that took birth as a consequence of premarital relationship between Orffyreus and his wife at his father in law’s home. Because of suspected involvement in crime, maidservant was arrested there and sent to prison. The extracted information presented below from the above website describes the unfortunate episode as follows.
In autumn 1727, both Orffyreus and his maid, Anne Rosine Mauersberger, developed serious disagreements between them. Maidservant became very angry with Orffyreus because after the death of his first wife, he gave preference to another lady and got married with her despite his lengthy intimate relationship with maidservant. Violent quarrels and disputes eventually led to breaking of the relationship between them, by this time 16 years had already passed since the employment of Anne Rosine Mauersberger as a maidservant.
Before Mauersberger joined to the services of Orffyreus as a maid servant in 1711, she had also worked in the same capacity at the home of Mr. Schuhman, who was father in-law to Orffyreus. Mr. Schuhman was a doctor and the Mayor of Annaberg, Saxony. He had three daughters, the youngest of three daughters named, Barbara Elizabeth, became the wife of Orffyreus. Chroniclers tell us that before marriage, Orffyreus dated with Barbara Elizabeth and as a result of their premarital relationship a baby was born, which was killed immediately after birth. At that time, it was unusual and a matter of shame for the whole family. Since the body of the newborn was found, the event attracted considerable attention in Annaberg. A criminal case was registered and maidservant Mauersberger got arrested and thrown in prison as she was suspected by police to play a major role in the murder of the baby. However, since no strong evidence of killing by maidservant was found by the police, soon maidservant Mauersberger was released from prison. The killing of an illegitimate child immediately after birth was seen in the German legal history for a long time as a less serious offense. Presumably, Dr. Schuhmann, who was not only respected mayor, but also a practicing physician in Annaberg, might have exercised his influence in getting Mauersberger released from jail. It appears that since police did not handle the case properly, maidservant became the scapegoat in entire murder case. Later, it became also evident from the police’s interrogation with Dr. Schuhmann’s youngest daughter and later with his wife that Maidservant was not involved. The child's mother was also not actively involved in the crime. Child’s death might have been caused by the poor health of mother at the time of child’s birth.
Perhaps, Mauersberger lost faith in Dr. Schuhmann’s family now as she felt humiliated on account of her being sent to jail in spite of being innocent. Under these circumstances, maidservant Mauersberger decided to enter Orffyreus’ home in order to avoid any further arrest. That was the right decision from her perspective, as right from 1716 rules regarding child killing became more stringent on account of electoral change of the government. Meanwhile Dr. Schuhmann also died and there was no one who could protect the family any longer in case murder enquiry started again. Elector of Saxony had access to the territory of Saxe-Merseburg. Under these apprehension, to avoid any further trouble, Orffyreus also decided to leave his homeland Saxony permanently and he moved to Hesse as in the province of Landgrave Karl and under his patronage, Orffyreus felt quite secured.
Mauersberger had a quarrelsome and violent nature. It is reported that in the house of Orffyreus, they always had quarrels. She had witnessed the development of the wheel in its various versions. Orffyreus and Mauersberger had maintained a love affair in the beginning. Orffyreus’ first wife died in 1726 of tuberculosis. The relationship between two grew to such extent that the maid after the deaths of Orffyreus' wife had high hopes to get married with Orffyreus. She expected that Orffyreus would have “year of mourning" for a while, then, they would marry. But against her expectations when Orffyreus decided to marry another lady, relationship turned to be sour. Orffyreus’ maid realized that she had already became a scapegoat in murder case, and had a lot of humiliation, further, refusal of marriage by Orffyreus only added oil to her fire of revenge now. His maidservant decided to take revenge and eventually,Orffyreus was sent to prison on account of her allegations.