Ollerenshaw's Perpetual Machine

Discovering Perpetual Motion - an etching by Theodore Lane Discovering Perpetual Motion - an etching by Theodore Lane

Hunting perpetual motion - Chelmorton blacksmith Alexander Ollerenshaw (1753-1841)

Alexander "Alick" Ollerenshaw, a blacksmith and landlord in Chelmorton spent many years trying to perfect a machine to prove the theory of perpetual motion.

 In the history of the Church Inn pub (formerly the Blacksmith's Arms) in Chelmorton, Alexander Ollerenshaw is reported as the landlord between 1793 and 1827. He spent most of his life trying to perfect his perpetual motion machine. He was an eccentric man and died never having realised his dream. It is reported that the machine was dismantled and local people kept bits as a reminder of him.  It is said that his daughter-in-law and his grand-daughter have left a permanent mark by haunting the pub.

 The local parish register records "An ingenious Blacksmith and Musician, and having more than 50 years vainly endeavoured to find out perpetual motion". He died on Oct 16th 1841.

 Alexander built his machine in a small private room at the pub. Several times a day he fastened himself in with his invention, seriously neglecting all other work. This went on for years. Everybody knew what he was trying to do for he talked about nothing else, and nothing else interested him at all. The wonderful machine always seemed to need just a few more alterations to make it work. Hardly anybody was allowed to see it.

 “Owd Alick” worked on the problem to the end of his days. After he died in 1841 his beloved contraption of cranks, springs, wires, wheels and pivots was broken up. Bits and pieces were given out around Chelmorton as mementos.

In a journal paper1 by Thomas Brushfield in 1870, Thomas remembers him well, ‘his strange figure, ernest manners, and pleasing address.’

ollerenshaw by brushfield

 1BRUSHFIELD, THOMAS. The Relinquary : quarterly archaeological journal and review, July 1863-Oct. 1894; London Vol. 11, (Jul 1870): 30-32.