Water and Wind Early Rangeland Partners By Karl Wood, Director Water Resources Research Institute Windmills: used in many parts of world for centuries, especially Europe Don Quixote 17 th Century First mill in United States? Jamestown, Virginia 1621
Karl Wood, Director
Water Resources Research Institute
These European derivativeswere not suitable for the western U.S.
“The great want of Texas is sufficient water…. There is a million dollars lying waiting for the first man who will bring us… a windmill, strong, durable and controllable.”
Grazing by domestic livestock and wildlife
was limited to areas near perennial streams due to a lack of drinking water.
1. Automatically turn to face the wind
2. Govern it own speed to prevent its destruction
3. Require low maintenance
5. Be transportable to rural areas
This won’t do!
invented a machine that became known as
“the Halladay Standard”
Blades could be turned parallel with the vane so that the wheel
Makers moved to near Chicago in Batavia, Illinois in 1856
Railroads became important buyers as they expanded
across the West.
Reverend Leonard H. Wheeler, a missionary among the Ojibway Indians in Wisconsin made major modifications in 1866
Catered mostly to railroads
Although cheap (<$5), most were
made on affluent farms and ranches
Most made by the farm
or ranches’ resident blacksmiths with
spare time and a scrap pile
Steel mills were more
durable and self-oiling
Wooden mills were
easier to repair
with nails, wire, &
Many different designs,
especially the blades
Each manufacturer claimed
theirs to be the best!
A Scientific Approach
Thomas O. Perry (Engineer) conducted studies from 1882-83
for the U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Company
Tested more than 50 designs in over 5,000 experiments
Developed a completely new wind wheel!
- 87% more efficient
than the wooden mills of the day
A Scientific Approach
1. Concave sheet steel blades set on a specific angle to the wind
2. Blades fastened to steel rimes and arms which presented the least
possible wind resistance
3. Retained sufficient strength
His company rejected the new design
because of retooling requirements!
In 1888 he joined LaVerne Noyes to organize a company called Aermotor
1. A gear box allowing 3 revolutions per stroke of the pump
2. Gearing allowed rotation
with winds of 4 mph
4. 1890 - Galvanizing with zinc alloy became standard
5. 1915 – Included a housing needing oil only once a year
Originally done by the owners
After several hundred thousand
sold in West, windmillers provided service
Claimed by the 132 ft high one on the XIT ranch at Littlefield, Texas (where its height was necessary due to being built within a canyon). It blew down in 1926, and the current "replica" in the town is a mere 114ft tall.
Built in Hutchison, Kansas, it has two 12' wheels on a single tower.
in southern New Mexico
or wildlife on this part of the Gray Ranch, New Mexico
near Magdalena, New Mexico
to transmission lines
- low voltages
- high utility rates
for a 16 ft diameter mill on a 47 ft tower
Scribbled on the outhouse wall of a one-room school in Cherry County,
We like it in the sandhills,
We like it very good,
For the wind it pumps our water,
And the cows they chop our wood