The History Of Wind Generated Power
By Will Reece
With the increased costs of energy derived from
fossil fuels, many consumers are interested in alternative sources
of energy. Unfortunately the market trend tells us that little to no
relief in oil prices is in sight. A great source of power can be
harnessed from the wind using electricity generating windmills.
Below is a brief history of wind power, and how it came to be.
Wind power has been harnessed for many, many years. Nobody knows for
sure when man started using the wind's power to grind flour or pump
water, but it is thought that the first windmill appeared in the
Persian region. From there this windmill technology spread back to
northern Europe. Windmills crafted by the Dutch were used primarily
to pump water.
Windmills were definitely not the first structures to harness the
wind. This award belongs to the sailboat. More than likely, founded
in small scale (small canoe with an animal skin as a sail) the
sailboat became the only way to cross large areas of water. The
sailboat evolved into large ships moving great distances by using
only wind as a source of power.
Windmills on a smaller scale showed up in America in the mid 19th
Century. The Aermotor and Dempster design were invented and many are
still in use. From 1850 to 1970 more than 6,000,000 windmills were
installed in the United States. The main application was pumping
water for livestock and providing farm homes with a water supply.
In the late 19th Century, the first windmill to generate electricity
was born! This was the Brush postmill in Cleveland Ohio, and the
year was 1888! The rotor was approximately 17 meters in diameter.
This windmill had a gearbox with a high spin ratio attached to a DC
By the middle 1920's, several small scale systems were found across
the Midwestern plains and used to supply farms with electricity.
These systems generally had a 1 to 3 kilowatt output.
1941 saw the largest wind generator to date. This generator's
capacity was 1.25 megawatts. It was known as the Smith-Putnam
machine. The rotor measured an astonishing 175 feet in diameter.
Today, many wind turbines are in operation from small scale
residential systems that are affordable to the homeowner to large
scale wind turbine farms that are used to supply a large amount of
electricity to utility customers.
For more information on wind power, visit us online at
Fuelfromthewind.com is one of the alternative energy sites Will
Reece owns and operates. Please visit us today!
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