John Thalmann’s Alternative Energy Design

See the unique, inexpensive and efficient alternative energy design of John Thalmann’s wind turbine.

| January/February 1975

Wind Energy

Wind plays an increasing role in alternative energy sources.


Give the politicians and bureaucrats credit. They're a little slow, but they're finally catching on. It may be too little and too late . . . but they are beginning to appropriate funds for the research and development of renewable, non-polluting energy sources.

On the other hand, it's probably a foregone conclusion that very little — if any — of those appropriations will ever trickle down into the hands of the folks with the ideas that really need to be tested.

People like John M. Thalmann of Crown Point, Indiana.

Now John may not have the breakthrough alternative energy designs that we're all looking for, but he has come up with a couple or three interesting concepts that deserve — at the very least— to be tested on a scale large enough to either prove or disprove the ideas. As it now stands, however, Thalmann has sunk virtually every penny he has in developing — and applying for patents on — three separate inventions . . . and no large corporation, no government agency, no independent research firm has yet offered to underwrite a nickel's worth of his work.

Perhaps the most interesting of John's projects — at least to MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers — is the one he calls his wind turbine. In essence, the machine consists of four very light, one-way flaps suspended from offset booms and mounted in sets of two on a vertical shaft. The shaft, of course, is supported by bearings that allow it to revolve. As it turns, each vane swings down to offer its maximum surface to the wind during one half of every revolution . . . and up to feather itself during the other half.

"My invention," Thalmann says, "is closely related to the Savonius S-rotor that MOTHER EARTH NEWS has mentioned from time to time. It is, however, an improvement over the Savonius because it allows for a much greater rotor diameter than the split oil drums commonly used on that design. In addition, my turbine's blades are very light, do not have compound curves and offer much less resistance to the wind on the return half of each revolution."

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