Perpetual Motion Devices

Ancient Times

Leonardo Da Vinci

Robert Fludd

Robert Fludd's 1618 "water screw" perpetual motion machine from a 1660 wood engraving. This device is widely credited as the first recorded attempt to describe such a device in order to produce useful work, that of driving millstones.[1]

The Swinging Sticks - Perpetual Motion Water Screw

Perpetual Motion Water Screw - Robert Fludd (1618)

Although the machine would not work, the idea was that water from the top tank turns a water wheel (bottom-left), which drives a complicated series of gears and shafts that ultimately rotate the Archimedes' screw (bottom-center to top-right) to pump water to refill the tank. The rotary motion of the water wheel also drives two grinding wheels (bottom-right) and is shown as providing sufficient excess water to lubricate them.

20th and 21st Centuries

Swinging Sticks - Norman Rockwell Perpetual Motion

1920's Popular Science - Norman Rockwell