History of Windmill Water Pumps in the US

The European settlers in the US brought the knowledge of windmills to the new world. At the beginning of the 19th century, Windmills were quite common on the east coast of the US around Dutch and German settlements.

When the settlers moved from the east coast to the west, they carried this technology along the way. They had large lands where they got settled, and they needed to harness the energy for their daily use. They had to pump water for their ranches. So, when the settlers were moving to the west, engineers, and entrepreneurs used all the knowledge that they gained from Europe to build new windmills for water pumping.

In the early part, Wooden windmills were used mostly in the regions of the great plains and California. However, the most important invention comes from the genius Daniel Halladay who in 1854, introduced a self-regulating windmill made with all metal parts along with blade pitch control. Halladay Windmill water pump completely revolutionize the pump industry at that time.

Metal parts for blades and towers became standard for the industry.

Old Windmill Water Pump with storage tank

Two-Wheel Windmill Water Pump

These windmills also called the perry wheels, were very efficient in water pumping even at low wind speeds. As compared to European windmills, they had a series of blades over the disk area making them high-solidity windmills. Solidity is defined as the total metal area of the blades over the disk area.

The high Solidity of the blades enabled water windmills to produce high torque at low winds which were needed for water pumping. They also had this weather wane that would turn and orient these windmills to the wind direction.

Windmills Success

The windmills water pumps became so popular in the US that were made in late 1800s and early 1900, during thier peak popularity, they were around 600 hundred thousands active and operational windmills all over the US and many of them even still to date, are running in the remote areas. Whats made these windmills so successful we will discuss some main factors

  • The companies made these windmill pumps in a place where they could easily manufactured it and shipped thier parts or full system to the place where its needed.
  • The installation, operation and maintenance of these windmills were quite simple. local labor force could easily assemble or disessemble thier parts and erect them without the help of manufacturing companies.
  • All parts of windmill pump were made of durable galvanized steel that could stand any weather conditions for both east or west of the US.
  • One manufacturing factory could make these all parts and ship them off to other part of the country or other portion of the world
  • Kept minimum number of parts which then required very few raw materials thus capital cost of windmills pump was economical
  • Efficient aerodynamics and speed control of windmills

These were the main reasons that made windmill pumps so successful.

Rural Electrification

Rural electrification stopped the further growth of windmills water pumps as the electricity was cheaply available and mostly people switched to electric water pumps. however, there are some regions in the US where you may find these antique machines still working.

Related Articles

Courses and Workshops

Similar Posts