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History of Wind Power

March 27, 2020
Paul Gipe

The English Windmill Video by Martyn Taylor

Martyn Taylor has made a wonderful video about the development and preservation of the English windmill. Sales of the video will go to preservation efforts.

Taylor is a volunteer with the Wind and Watermill section (SPAB) of Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in Great Britain. He has worked on the restoration of the Nutley windmill, the last open trestle post mill in Sussex, England.

Taylor explains why the Nutley windmill is significant in the video. It was first built during the time of King Henry VIII, yes, that Henry of the 16th century. The mill was moved to its current location in 1830 and fully restored in the 1970s.

You can watch a short about the video on YouTube. See English Windmill Promo. You can order a copy for £10.00 either as a digital download or a DVD by visiting The English Windmill

Chapter 5 of my 1995 book Wind Energy Comes of Age is an extensive discourse on the history of windmills, their role, and their significance. This includes the post mill. I relied heavily on the groundbreaking work by Edward Kealey in Harvesting the Air: Windmill Pioneers in Twelfth Century England. Kealey argues that the post mill wasn't a technology brought back from the Crusades but was likely an indigenous invention. Kealey also suggested that the windmill was a revolutionary machine "liberating" the people from their feudal overlords. Windmills, the post mill in particular, were not just machines, but the vanguard in enabling people to determine their own destiny on the road to democracy.

Taylor's video rekindled my long lost interest in the history of wind energy and the struggle to bring power to the people.

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