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An old postcard featuring a windmill in Germany

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Windmills on Old Postcards




More than one hundred old postcards of windmills in England, France, Holland, and Germany.

windmill windmoellen  windmills

  A windmill is a machine that converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails. Originally, windmills were developed for milling grain for food production. In the course of history, the windmill machinery was adapted to many other industrial uses, for example to pump water, either for land drainage or to extract groundwater. The earliest vertical windmills are believed to date from the 12th century and were built in England, Northern France, Belgium, and Holland. The earliest certain written reference to a windmill is one in Yorkshire, England, dating back to 1185. At their peak the total number of wind-powered mills in Europe is estimated to have been around 200,000, compared to some 500,000 waterwheels. Windmills continued to be built in large numbers until late in the 19th century when windpower as a primary industrial energy source declined and was replaced by steam and internal combustion engines. There are around fifty working mills in operation in Britain as of 2008. Many more have been preserved as static exhibits when the antique machinery is too fragile to put in to action.  

images of old windmills

One hundred images of windmills on old postcards from the collection of Simon Haines

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