Johann Bessler’s Windmill is for sale
Johann Bessler, also known as Orffyreus, had spent much of his younger life researching the possibility of desiging a gravity-driven wheel. Having finally succeeded in creating a working model he proceeded to exhibit it in the hope of selling the secret to a wealthy philanthropist. Despite attracting enormous interest both at home in Germany as well as abroad, he was unable to find anyone who was prepared to adhere to his terms. He exhibited his various wheels from 1712 until 1729 at which point he fell out of favour with his patron, the Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. He never gave up hope of selling the secret and even in his final years he was requested to build a small-scale replica for a member of the Royal Society in London.
The documentary evidence of his sincerity is convincing and there are extensive records detailing his later work in designing and building other devices some of them clearly based on his gravitywheel.
At the time of his death in 1745, he was working on a new windmil to be erected in the small town of Furstenberg. Typically this was another ingenious design which required the blades of the windmill to be placed horizontally on a vertical shaft. At the time it was the first such design to be built in Europe, although there are reports dating back to the ninth century of vertical axis miills having been seen in Afghanistan and even earlier in China. The obvious advantage of these mills was that they had no need to be turned to face the wind.
Bessler was building the windmill as requested by the local authorities but he was in poor health, short of food and the weather was freezing and it seems that he simply fell to his death from the top of the building.
The structure he left behind was so robust that it has survived for 265 years, initially used at the beginning as a home for the start of the famous Fürstenberg porcelain industry, and subsequently a number of different uses.
This famous building has been allowed to fall into a ruinous state of disrepair and is now for sale for the extraordinatry price of one Euro! But of course the idea is that someone should buy it with the aim of restoring it to some useful form of habitation without making too many alterations to the external appearance. Rough assessments suggest a cost of upto 500,000 Euros, so it will require a wealthy individual with a keen interest in the story of Johann Bessler to bring this important building back to its former glory.
On the 6th Junbe 2012 it will be exactly 300 years since Johann Bessler first exhibited his gravitywheel. What a perfect time to restore this building! Around the world people are engaged in trying reconstruct Bessler’s wheel and there is just a chance that someone somewhere will succeeded in time for the 300th anniversary. If this should occur restoring the windmill would be an excellent investment.