Prima Secunda

Bessler 401


Prima, Secunda, and the One-Way wheel:


The differences between the twin drawings vs Prima and Secunda are rather obvious but there are many subtle differences as well. I believe the Prima and Secunda drawings to be linked to the one-way wheel because they are so different from the twins and from clues within the text keys.

Bessler discovered the two-way wheel about three years or so after he found the one-way wheel. While working on the two-way wheel he apparently published nothing and that is a tragedy. His first publication Grund came out a few months after his two-way wheel discovery and he dedicated the vast majority of his verbal and print commentary from that point on to the two-way wheel alone. That makes researching the one-way wheel especially difficult because you look at hundreds of pages of documents and possibly come away with a quip or two.

The reason this is so disappointing to me is that the one-way wheel would seem to be easiest to discover.

I am confident that some people do not agree with my belief in Prima and Secunda being the one-way wheel because of the apparent textual connection to the Weisenstein wheel. A close examination of the phrase preceding the text key for Prima leans more in my direction.

In German it says: The perpetual motion demolished, externally like the one in the Castle Weissenstein.

In Latin it says: Perpetual motion according to the same exterior face as the construction in Castle Weisenstein.

I say: (One-way and two-way wheels: They all look alike from the outside.)

The best research method to use seems to be to find everything possible about the two-way wheel and compare and contrast it back to the scant few clues available on the one-way wheel.

The one-way wheel is, in my opinion, the MOST important thing!!! All it will take is one or two creative minds to finish this.


A. Shows the size of the machine / circumference and profile.

B. In the main shaft four forks screwed / for snail pull. ( Even though Bessler did have a pump of this type set up for demonstration I always had questions about the forks and rope thing and square wheel on the water pump. I will have to reserve further comment until midway thru MT.)

C. Arms in the main shaft / to elevate the stamping. (Did you notice on the twins drawing that the stampers were like stair steps rather than one or two lifted but the pegs were in pairs. Here there are only two stampers and they are lifted one at a time but the pegs on the main shaft look as if they are in the the same line. The twins had the stampers being lifted right next to the shaft but here they are lifted at the edge of the wheel. Last little twist is that the top two pegs have opposite slants on their ends as the bottom pegs. )

D. The stampers themselves which are elevated up through the lath. (If these were real stampers for grinding grain you would use heavier boards than lath to support them. On occasion I work on a semi-full scale model to gain prospective and the ideal kind of board to work with is lath. Go figure. The twins had four pairs of weights and this machine has a much simpler two sets of weights.)

E. The rope through which the water snail flows.

F. A square wheel on the snail over which the rope runs.

G. The water-snail itself / run through the perpetual mobile.

H. The water box in which the snail dives.

I. Here is one of the openings of the snail which draw the water.

K. The other opening of the snail / and where she empties.

L. The water runs out of the snail and pours forcefully into the wooden channel.

M. The water runs out of the wooden channel into the box again.(I can see some minor symbolism in the drawn out process of the water box above. The wooden channel takes the place of number nine in both the twins and Secunda. The circulating of the water from below up to a point and back down with the forces concentrated in the wooden channel but it does not explain much for me.)

N. How something is transported on the main shaft. (Here is where the fun starts again. Transported on the main shaft..... A rope winding on a shaft is not usually considered transportation.)

O. Shows a water bucket which is pulled through the machine. (Bessler picked the specific words pulled through the machine not by the machine.)

P. The perpendicul, when the machine is supposed to move slowly. (This is the biggest and best clue in this whole text key but you will have to continue to find out why and now that I think about it is connected to O above. Also please note the almost half circle weight at the bottom of the pendulum arm. Bessler draws weights in several different shapes but this is a signature mark that is associated with the wheels. When this shape comes up in a drawing, additional scrutiny is also focused on the material at hand. The word perpendicul is Latin for “perpendiculars”)

Q. The out running water runs in a funnel through the hollow throat in the floor.

R. Out of the funnel the water runs in a spout.

S. The spout goes out of the windows. (The top left corner window, same as the twins.)

T. The water which is brought by the bucket then flows away.( First there was the cycle with the water box and snail pump, now the bucket is bringing the water and the excess flows away. Sounds like he is using another metaphor for energy transfering inside the wheel.)

10. Shows the transparency of the machine. (ABCD...and the twentieth letter is 10.....? Remember this for a short time.)


  1. The total size of the wheel / or perpetual mobile.

  2. Around the main shaft the rope winds. (Thought that was now called, how something is transported.)

  3. The rope hastens away under a small wheel. (Hastens away is an interesting choice of words.)

  4. The rope goes through the window. (The top section)

  5. The rope hangs downward over a small wheel. (This wheel is a little unusually small)

  6. The box full of stones is pulled up. (In the twins the box of rocks was held high, here it hangs low.)

  7. The lock / when the machine is not working. (In the twins number twenty-three held the machine when not working here the lock does. Kind of reinforces the idea of the internal mechanism somehow being attached to the rim at lease for part of the rotation. Also please note the angle from dead center bottom has changed a few degrees from the twins drawings.)

  8. The perpendicul, at its end are three weights. (Bessler's use of the singular word end not the plural form ends says: there are three weights on one end of the pendulum. Interestingly enough, even though somewhat disassociated, the weights at the bottom of the pendulums in the twins are divided into three sections.)

  9. Boards on the “baskets” / to move the perpendicul strongly. (The word basket is kind of a universal word. The water box and water bucket in Prima are baskets in the original German and it can also mean basket, too. I wanted to leave the original word and give the reader the opportunity to fill in the blank because I don't know what it is. The fact that it is stated that this item moves the pendulum strongly tells us that it and likely the identically numbered item in the twins are fundamentally important components.)

  10. Above and underneath is transparent, so the machine can stand free / and can be moved when needed. (Number ten on both Prima and Scunda share the curious word transparent. Generally if something is transparent it doesn't appear to be there. If the supports that secure the boards above and below don't appear to be there and the board was actually mounted in the middle it would be easier to be moved around while still supporting the internal machine.)

Hints, questions and clues:

The arms and vertical support beam that connect the pegs at the center of the wheel to the stampers in Prima are not labeled or mentioned in the text which makes them more likely irrelevant than important. The arms are not exactly drawn correctly either. The arm that is higher on the left side of the support beam is the closest to the observer. The higher board on the right is also in front. These boards would have to have about a twenty-five degree bend in each arm according to the drawing.

The arm to the lower left of the support beam points straight down the line of the rope going to the top of the water pump. There is also the unique coincidence that the angle of the crossing arms lifting the stampers and the crossing rope pulling the water pump are the same.

Did you notice there is no letter j in Prima above? It might have something to do with the near identical appearance with the German letter ”i”. J does happen to be the tenth letter and the number ten was used for something special but it may have just been a coincidence.

According to real world measurements of the one-way wheel it has a diameter to thickness ratio maximum of 20:1 (Its diameter is twenty times longer than thick) but the two-way wheels average 10:1.

A ten foot diameter wheel with only 6 inches of thickness is too narrow for movement of a weight in any direction except one with an axle parallel with the main shaft. Basically a wheel within a wheel. From practical experience the hardest thing to work with is a weight that moves forward or backward from a radial line out from the axle.

The two-way wheel is twelve to eighteen inches thick so there should be room for a very different type of movement if arm number eight is really shoe sized.

A one-way wheel going clockwise, only lifts one weight at a time, at or just before the three o'clock position.

The one-way wheel only has two perpendicular cross arms with weight mechanisms at their ends for a total of four weights.

The locks in both the twins and Secunda appear to be latches that hold the weights or arms for a period of time. The latch on the twins engages thirty-five degrees after bottom center and Secunda's latch catchs ten degrees before bottom center.


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