E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Restlessness; fidgety or nervous disquiet; also a chimerical scheme wholly impracticable. Many have tried to invent a machine that shall move of itself, and never stop; but, as all materials must suffer from wear and tear, it is evident that such an invention is impossible.
It were better to be eaten to death with rust, than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.Shakespeare: 2 Henry IV., i. 2.