Monday, May 21, 2012

Wind Charger

We normally think of early wind power as a means of pumping water, but in the 1920's and 1930's people often built home made "Wind Chargers". These were early devices to bring a little electricity to a home before electricity was available from the utility companies. They systems typically worked like this. A home made wind mill was connected to a car generator. As the wind blew, the generator turned, and charged a battery. The system typically had two batteries . . . one inside being used, and one outside being charged. The batteries would be swapped about once a day. The car battery would be enough to run a radio, and provide a little night time light. A pretty crude system, but much better than no electricity at all.


  1. In the 1930's my uncle in Iowa had a windcharger that gave his house electricity. As I recall, it had metal blades and was quite tall.

    My grandparents still used kerosene lamps just a few miles away. This was near Woolsen and Fairfield IA.

  2. As crude as that one is built, it looks like the only time it worked was when the wind came from one way. The top did not rotate to follow the wind like real windmills do.
    But like you said, it's better than nothing

  3. Tonia O'UvaldeMay 21, 2012 at 8:07 AM

    You should read "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" by William Kamkwamba. It's about a boy in Africa who experiments and builds windmills and brings electricity to his family and village.
    This website will tell you about it. It would make a good read on your way to Africa.

  4. My Grandparents had a windcharger system on the ranch. The windmill charged a bank of batteries and the house was wired to the batteries. If the wind didn't blow they had a small generator that cranked by hand and would charge the batteries. They used the power for more than the radio.

  5. Pretty cool blade design.
    And smart idea.

    1. It looks like they used an old wooden spoke auto wheel and hub to attach the blades to the unit. Pretty smart and cheap.


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