Shades of Don Quixote Are we seeing specters from The Land
of Wooden Shoes? Is this the Ghost of Windmills Past come
back to chastise us all for our silly, modem ways?
Could be. The structure you see here–dubbed “The
Windy–Ten”–is an exact replica of a
15th-century Dutch hollow post mill, built to precise 115
scale. And it’s been generating . .’. well, a
little electricity, and a lot of admiring
double takes from folks who pass by Jack J. Maas’ property
up near Shelby, Michigan.
Mr. Maas tells us that his wasp-waisted wonder-complete
with 14-foot sails and a revolving upper housing/stairway
assembly that can be turned into or away from the
wind–was constructed in a few months from original
plans that he translated into English and scaled down for
practical purposes. Obviously, the mechanism ain’t the
power producer that some of today’s advanced windplants are
. . . but then again, we’ve never seen a Savonius turbine
or Jacobs three-blader that looked quite as good as this
Old World charmer. And Jack says his machine is capable of
lighting lights or running small electric appliances if
situated in a suitably high-wind (15–20 mph) area.