Windmill | Working, Types, Uses, History [Explained With Images & Videos]

By | October 2, 2018

What is a windmill?

A windmill is a Mechanical device which converts kinetic energy of wind into mechanical energy (i.e. rotation of shaft). This Mechanical energy can further be used for milling or pumping water from the ground.

A windmill is a eco-friendly machine since it runs on renewable energy and has no emissions, which can pollute environment.

Windmill history

Power of the wind is utilized from thousands of years for sailing boats but the use of wind power in milling and water pumping was done by Persians in A.D. 500-900 and by Chinese in A.D. 1200

The first mill designed in United States was by Daniel Halladay in 1854 for his workshop.

Windmill applications

How a windmill works?

A windmill has fans attached to a shaft. When air comes the fans starts moving about the axis of shaft, which results in the rotation of shaft.

The working of windmill is exactly opposite to modern day fans which provide us air blow when their shaft rotated.

You can refer this video for the working animation of the windmill and how it can be used for generating electricity.

Types of windmill

There are basically two types of windmills on the basis of axis of rotation. They are as follows

  1. Vertical axis windmills

  2. Horizontal axis windmills

The horizontal axis windmills can further be subdivided into following parts.

  • Post mill

  • Smock mill

  • Tower mill

  • Fan mill

Uses of windmill

Once the energy is obtained from the moving wind and converted into to rotary movement of shaft it can be used for following purposes.

  • For milling grains
  • For pumping water from the ground
  • For extracting oil from the seeds
  • For machining
  • It can also be used to make electricity but that part mainly covered by wind turbines

Facts about windmills

There are some interesting facts about windmills. We hope you will enjoy them.

  • 20% of energy used in Portugal and Denmark comes from windmills
  • China has most wind turbines
  • Every second Saturday in may is celebrated as ‘National Mills Day’ in Holland
  • One megawatt of wind energy can save approximately 2600 tons of carbon dioxide created by fossil fuel powered energy sources
  • The oldest windmill dates back to eight century and was in Netherlands

Image source:

Attribution: By DeFacto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

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