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The History of Wind Generated Power

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The History Of Wind Generated Power

by Will Reece

Copyright 2005

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 generator.

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


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


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.

About The Author: is one of the

alternative energy sites Will Reece owns and operates. Please

visit us today!. For more information on wind power, visit us

online at

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