“Windmills were used to pump water since at least the 9th century in what is now Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. On US farms, particularly on the Great Plains, windpumps (water-pumping windmills) were used to pump water from farm wells for cattle. At their peak in 1930, an estimated 600,000 units were in use, with capacity equivalent to 150 megawatts. The multi-bladed wind turbine atop a lattice tower made of wood or steel hence became, for many years, a fixture of the landscape throughout rural America. These mills, made by a variety of manufacturers, featured a large number of blades so that they would turn slowly with considerable torque in low winds and be self-regulating in high winds. A tower-top gearbox and crankshaft converted the rotary motion into reciprocating strokes carried downward through a rod to the pump cylinder below. Rising energy costs and improved pumping technology are increasing interest in the use of this once declining technology.
A 16 ft (4.8 m) diameter wind pump can lift up to 1600 US gallons (about 6.4 metric tons) of water per hour an elevation of 100 ft with a 15 to 20 mph wind (24–32 km/h), according to a modern manufacturer. A properly designed wind pump begins working in a 3-4 mph (5 to 6.5 km/h) wind. Wind pumps require little maintenance, only a change of gear box oil annually. An estimated 60,000 wind pumps are still in use in the United States. They are particularly attractive for use at remote sites where electric power is not available and maintenance is difficult to provide.”
Source: Wiki Windpumps
Aermotor Windmills (the only US windmill manufacturer)
Image #2 source: Iron Man Windmill Co.
Home Power.com articles: Siting your Windmill,
Pumping Water with the Wind “There’s no need to reinvent the water-pumping windmill. It’s a workhorse that has been mostly unchanged since before World War II. About one million windmills are pumping water in the world today. The most common application is to install a windmill directly over a drilled or dug well. Pumping water from an aboveground source is also an easy task for a windmill. If you need to pump water on your property and the site has access to reliable winds, a water-pumping windmill may be a good option.”