Adam Savage vs The “Perpetual Motion” Machine!

Amidst the artifacts housed at The Royal Society is a curious device purporting to be a perpetual motion machine. The creation of the late British researcher and writer David Jones (also known as Daedalus), the secret of how this machine gives the delusion of perpetual motion has yet to be unveiled. Archivist Virginia Mills shares the backstory of this mystery and Adam takes a crack at finding how this unlikely invention really works!

Thanks to Brady Haran for bringing us to The Royal Society!
Shot and edited by Joey Fameli
Music by Jinglepunks

Intro bumper by Abe Dieckman

Thanks for viewing!



  1. Adam Savage’s Tested

    Thanks to Brady Haran for bringing us to The Royal Society! You can find his Objectivity videos at

  2. RacingWithParamotors

    It’s a super efficient machine no doubt, and why it requires so little energy storage (batteries) to continue spinning for so long. They’re also using steel bearings, come on now, and did you watch the ball bearings jitter and move inconsistently, that is not efficient.

  3. Alexis Iván García Pagán

    A secret??? look the magnets and btw USA already accomplished it 😂

  4. Why not take a sensitive magnetic compass when you examine it. Then any variations in magnetic fields should be evident with the needle movement. I agree it’s a motor. A compass should confirm that.

  5. Sadly this girl got fired after this released.

  6. I hate it when people say that the study of perpetual motion is useless. These machines, while they don’t live up to their name, still provide highly useful information and examples on how to increase the efficiency of the machines we use today. The same people that claim a perpetual motion machine failed because it is only 97 percent efficient for what it’s trying to accomplish drive a car that has an internal combustion engine that is only 30 percent efficient when it is well tuned and well maintained. There just seems to be a logical disconnect. These people don’t get mad enough at their car to discredit their usefulness and tell people they are a waste of time to develop further just because they have to fill up the tank. It seems to me that there are a lot of important lessons and learning opportunities we have missed out on because we have decided that these machines are innately useless. That is my two cents.

  7. Of course “perpetual motion” is possible, because it is a matter of definition. The term was used for anything that moved continuously, accepting that there was some input of energy from some source. So perpetual clocks and engines, that made use of changes in air temperature or pressure (for instance), or tidal fluctuations, or the presence of a light source, were all, at one time, considered perpetual motion. And the people who built these devices, for the most part, never believed, nor claimed, that their machines would work with no input.

    It is only today, with the new definition of “perpetual motion” as having NO input of ANY energy source, that the inventions of the past are wrongly impugned as being ignorant, or trickery. This is not fair.

    There should be a new definition for what we know, of course, is the impossible VERSION of “perpetual motion”, to set it apart from the old definition and understanding. Perhaps “Free Motion”, or “Energyless Motion”, or “Zero Input Motion”, or the like?

  8. This chick is just listening to Adam and going “…sure??”

  9. whaaat? didn’t even look in the envelope?

  10. That is a big pile of horseshit mechanics, and the fact that it isn’t allowed to be peer reviewed, and replicated in a controlled environment, pisses me off more than the mechanism itself.

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