Windmill Day

On a day when wind is blasting through the windows, it seems appropriate to celebrate the windmill.  So, Happy Windmill Day everyone!

Land’s lighthouses, windmills are rich with tradition.  They are timeless, historic, and always seem to have a story to tell.  Cervantes certainly agreed as the most famous tale belongs to Don Quixote and his head tilting ways.  Or there’s the lesser known but equally entertaining Moonspinners (the Mary Stewart novel or Hayley Mills movie, you choose).

Turns out, neither Cervantes’ Spain nor Stewart’s Greece is the windmill’s home country.  The honor belongs to . . . . . any guesses? 

Egypt.  Seriously. 

Egyptians in Alexandria harnessed windmill power in 1st century thanks to the work of mathematician Heron.  Sure, Egypt inspires images of pyramids, but who would have thought windmills too? 

By the 10th century, Persia and China picked up on the idea, using horizontal windmills to pump water and grind grain. 

The vertical windmill (variations of which we still see today) evolved from its horizontal cousin and spread to Europe, giving us the Spanish and Greek windmills.  By the 1700s, the Netherlands used windmills to pump away water, creating more land.

Just when history was ready to demote the windmill to once-cool-but-now-obsolete machinery (think the way of the plow and cotton gin), it is once again considered ground-breaking technology. 

Wind farms are all the rage, and after the BP disaster in the Gulf, harnessing wind power seems a better energy choice than ever before. 

Oil rig vs. windmill?  Windmill wins.  Hands down.

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3 thoughts on “Windmill Day

  1. Love the windmill! I like the idea of harvesting my own windmill farm. Think of the money saved and the environmental friendliness that keeps us in good with nature. 🙂

    From where does the windmill with the sails originate?

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