History of Windmills

By | May 24, 2019

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Persian Windmills. Source: (pinterest.com)

There have been different types and forms of windmills throughout history. The various types were created for different purposes. The very first person to use the windmill idea was Heron of Alexandria who created a device that would generate power for an organ.

Then it was the Persians who created windmills for grinding grain. Quite an unusual-looking windmill, this vertically-shaped windmill was first developed during the 500-900 A.D. timeframe. These were made with vertical mills in order to spin the shaft which was connected to a pump.  

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Windmill. Source: (daysoftheyear.com)

It was during the Crusade era that the windmill first showed up in Europe but these looked considerably different than those made by the Persians so it is unclear where they actually originated from. A grain-grinding mill showed up in China in 1219 A.D.

The structure of the first windmills in Europe was made using a wooden post for support that would allow it to face the wind. This type of windmill was made with the use of a post-mill structure which required the use of a long beam in order to turn it. They were then set on a tripod made of two crossed beams and four angled beams to support the post. With cogs and gears, power was generated from the wind produced by the sails. Other windmills that were developed later were the smock mills, brick mills, and stone mills.