• 99748-000_17006117_WesternWindrad.jpg Wild West windmill, © Technisches Museum Wien
  • 99748-000_17006136_WesternWindrad.jpg Wild West windmill, © Technisches Museum Wien
Collection Area
Everyday Life

Wild West windmill


The American engineer and inventor Daniel Halladay developed this windmill in the mid-19th century. It is self-regulating, i.e. it always swivels to the optimum position regardless of wind direction. If the wind speed becomes excessive and the pressure on the blades so great that it might damage the windmill, the blades are retracted to offer much less resistance to the storm.

With blades that rotated relatively slowly, the windmill was used mainly to pump up groundwater, irrigate fields, and supply grazing livestock with drinking water. Many farmers in North America in particular used this technology, which is why the name American windmill established itself.
These windmills were later hooked up to generators and used to generate electricity. However, they cannot compete with modern wind power plants equipped with rotor blades shaped like aircraft wings that make use of the principle of lift.

Inv.Nr. 99748
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