WOWWww–Wind Odyssey Wednesday – (continued) – with windpowered waterpumpers

WOWww – how’s that for revamping and stretching an acronym?  Nothing about Watts this week. Only windmills as water pumpers – pure mechanical  energy!


To begin – my all time favourite ‘wind pumper’ is what Frank Lloyd Wright named “Romeo and Juliet”. Built in 1896, its unique design of free standing hexagonally lain timbers is an engineering and architectural marvel.



“Romeo oh Romeo! Where art thou?”

To answer (although I’m no Romeo), it is located near Spring Green Wisconsin, at Wrights personal home. He died in 1959. The 600 acre estate was bequeathed from his Welsh ancestors, and is known as Taliesin East or “shining brow”.

Check it out in my post: Plot of Earth – Dream and Reality.



Taliesin East, near Spring Green


The original self regulating farm wind pump was invented in 1854 by another American, Daniel Halladay.




 Click here for a brief history of wind mills in the western hemisphere, complete with excellent links to nearly 20 wind pumper museums located throughout Canada and the United States.




For the last few decades farmers and ranchers have been shifting over to solar photovoltaic panels that power brushless electric water pumps, as a more cost effective and largely maintenance free system.




Here is an example of Dutch windmill design, which are waterpumpers used in the past to reclaim much of the coast land in the Netherlands. These were common in Europe throughout the middle ages and the early modern era.



photo source – Wikimedia commons

I’ll close with some thoughts on wind power from Abraham Lincoln – 

“Of all the forces of nature, I should think the wind contains the largest amount of motive power—that is, power to move things. Take any given space of the earth’s surface— for instance, Illinois; and all the power exerted by all the men, and beasts, and running-water, and steam, over and upon it, shall not equal the one hundredth part of what is exerted by the blowing of the wind over and upon the same space . . .             

It is applied extensively, and advantageously, to sail-vessels in navigation. Add to this a few windmills, and pumps, and you have about all. … As yet, the wind is an untamed, and unharnessed force; and quite possibly one of the greatest discoveries hereafter to be made, will be the taming, and harnessing of it.”




On Watts of Wind next Wednesday – community owned wind power!



3 thoughts on “WOWWww–Wind Odyssey Wednesday – (continued) – with windpowered waterpumpers

  1. I live in rural Vermont, and we just had a series of huge, sculptural, (if intrusively so) windmills installed on a nearby ridge. At first, they were, I hate to say it, a bit of a “blot on the landscape”, to quote the title of a book by a crazy Brit I love, Tom Sharpe. The turbines are so man made…so visible…from 360 degrees in the middle of this green splendor…like a visual snowmobile as you enjoy the hush of winter woods.

    But we can’t think about these things in vacuums, can we? Would I prefer looking at the pristine, green ridge through the haze of a climate-induced brushfire or fossil fuel smog? Or maybe looking past the cooling tower of some “safe and modern” nuclear plant to see my pretty little unspoiled ridge?

    On the whole, wind power is a necessary part of a patchwork of solutions that can take us to a more sane and sustainable world.

    Plus, windmills are just empirically wonderful, aren’t they?

    By the way, does your Green Party deliver to America! We could use a more parliamentary system here, as our two parties remind me of Janus…two different faces for the same guy, lol. Independent parties here are, at the moment, just strong enough to siphon votes from the predominant party more closely aligned with them.

    Thank you for putting this wonderful blog out there!

    • Thanks for sharing your diffcult experience with windpower. My wife read a blog to me about an Indiana farmer who had a simar experience with losing a beautiful view to a nearby wind farm. He was angry, and at the end of the blog he asked for someone to explain to him the benefits of wind power in “a balance sheet.” It made me think how I would react if a nuclear power plant was built next door, or a hydo electric damn flooded us out of house and home . NiIMBY, for certain – not in my back yard!

      I found it sad that the farmer could only look at things through an economic lens. It is too bad he doesn’t get that eco-nomics and eco-olgy, both come from the same root word – the greek ‘oikos’ – meaning home.

      I appreciate that you see the ‘bigger picture’ than your ‘pretty unspoiled ridge.’ In this understanding you have made a personal sacrifice for the common good.

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For me, wind power means more than clean energy. It is also a beautiful symbol of peaceful and ‘apropriate technology’, to use the term from EF Schumachers’, Small is Beautiful.

      In regards to the “Blot on the Landscape’ book you mention, I’ll check it out. It is always good to look at things from different perspectives.

      As for the Greens, we’re having a hard enough time delivering here in Canada, let alone the U.S. of A! 🙂

      Thanks Glenn, for your generous and thoughtful comments. And for your well done posts and your important civil rights work as advocate and a lawyer for those who would have no voice. This is good work indeed!

  2. The power of the wind and what it can do can take our breathe away. Beautiful pictures. I am fascinated with wind mills. There is something about them that captures one’s imagination.

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