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The Wheelers attached their wheel to a hinged vane (or tail), which like a weather vane kept the wheel pointed into the wind when it was operating. Their mill had a second, smaller vane attached parallel with the wheel. This side or governor vane pushed the wheel out of increasing wind velocities to regulate its speed of operation. Other contemporary mills achieved the same end by placing their wind wheel just off center. The Wheelers used a weight on the end of a lever connected with the vane to "pull" the wheel back to face the wind when its velocity subsided. All mills of this design were called solid wheel windmills.
Up to this time, all windmills in North America were built from wood, with some iron and steel parts holding the wooden components together. As early as the 1870s, however, all-metal windmills were introduced, but at first they were not especially popular. People believed that they were easily broken and difficult to repair. In time, however, the use of steel and iron for windmills increased so that by the beginning of the twentieth century the majority of windmills built were made from metal.
Winner in the Manufacturing Objects!
December 12th, 2012
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