Saturday, January 5, 2008

Wind charger, or wind pump?

These turbines (there are two) are outside the Shenandoah Farmer's Market in Harrisonburg VA. (Aimee and I just got back from visiting the in-laws.) This is a Mennonite business, where you can buy canned goods, including Yoder's famous canned meats, as well as books on Amish, Mennonite, Church of the Brethren and other German-American Anabaptist culture. It's a Peace Church cultural center of sorts, as well as a place to get a great pulled pork sandwich and more kinds of jelly and other preserves than you ever thought could be possible. I recommend the rhubarb pie filling, but the jalapeno jelly is an acquired taste.

Anyway, these "gate guardians" sit astride the parking lot. Although I've looked at them many times, I just noticed they appear to have a generator, or some other machine in a cowling or nacelle behind the vanes, and reduction gears, as well as the fact that they are considerably larger and taller than most traditional family farm wind pumps.

Does anyone know exactly what they are? I know that wind chargers provided electricity to farms in remote areas before the Rural Electrification Authority era. Is that what these are?

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