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Early Wind Technology

By Sonal Patel -- May 10, 2011

[Editor Note: Wind energy is not a new technology as previous posts at MasterResource have discussed (listing at end below). This excerpt is from a longer article, “Changing Winds: The Evolving Wind Turbine,” published in the April 2011 issue of POWER. Ms. Patel is the senior writer with the monthly magazine.]

“The use of wind power is as old as history.”

– Erich Zimmermann, World Resources and Industries (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1951), p. 62.

From as early as 25–220 A.D., wind energy has been harnessed for practical purposes. The late nineteenth century began the era of large structures capturing wind to convert to electricity. This post describes early applications of this technology.

Blyth Turbine (1887)

The first wind turbine used to convert wind energy into power—unlike windmills, which are used to pump water or grind grain—was built by Professor James Blyth of Anderson’s College, Glasgow (now Strathclyde University) in 1887.…