Readers of MOTHER EARTH NEWS may recall wind generator plans about locating and obtaining the old Wincharger and Jacobs wind generators which were used on farms and homesteads before Rural Electrification. In that issue, appeared a sketch of a "hoisting pipe" which I used for removing windplants from their towers. The design for this aid was taken from the Wincharger owner's manual, and the device worked just fine . . . for Winchargers.
I've recently discovered, however, that this type of hoisting pipe is totally inadequate for removal or installation of a Jacobs machine . . . which is much heavier and will invariably bend the homemade implement. I was informed of this by a man who attempted to use such a unit, with disastrous results: The Jacobs he was removing from its tower crumpled the pipe, then broke loose and crashed to the ground, destroying itself.
Nevertheless — arrogantly assuming that my informant had probably attached the device incorrectly to the tower — I attempted to install a Jacobs using my same old hoisting pipe. Sure enough, when the generator was about 15 feet off the ground the tool bent like a pretzel! If I hadn't used a backup safety cable, my beautiful, 2,500-watt machine would now be junk.
We finally installed the Jacobs safely with the help of a nine-foot length of well-drilling pipe about two inches in diameter. No crossarm was used . . . the hook for the block and tackle was simply placed in the upper opening of the tube. (We got this information from an old Jacobs manual. Nothing like following directions!)
I sincerely hope this mistake in my article has not caused anyone else any trouble. These old machines are far too valuable to be destroyed by incorrect information.
Incidentally, I've had reprints made of the original Jacobs manual (now out of print) for the benefit of people who are working with machines of that make. The illustrated booklets are 18 pages in length and are available for $3.00 — plus 50¢ for postage, envelope and handling — from:
The Walden Foundation
P.O. Box 5
El Rito, N.M. 87530
You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.