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History of Wind Power

October 19, 2021
Paul Gipe

Smith-Putnam Wind Turbine Virtual Exhibition Goes Live

The York County History Center’s Virtual Exhibition of the Smith-Putnam wind turbine has gone live. Titled “The Smith-Putnam Wind Turbine and the Beginning of Modern Wind Energy in America,” the exhibition opens with a stunning photo of five men standing on one of the two blades after the giant turbine was installed in Vermont in 1941. The exhibition celebrates the 80th anniversary of the 175-foot (53-meter) diameter wind turbine feeding electricity into the grid—a first in North America.

The Smith-Putnam wind turbine was a giant for its day, sweeping five to ten times more wind other wind turbines at the time. It wasn’t until three decades later that commercial wind turbines approached the size of the Smith-Putnam machine.

More on the wind turbine can be found at Smith-Putnam Industrial Photos, including links to a Film of Turbine Operating, Patents & Patent Drawings, Articles from the Period, Who Was Carl Wilcox?, Wind Tunnel Tests, and Artifacts from the project.

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