What is a windmill and how does it work? Definition:

The windmill describes a structure that harnesses the energy of the wind. It is considered the direct forerunner of the modern wind turbine. In the past, windmills were primarily used for crushing, grinding and processing lumpy materials such as cereal products, paper, wood or stone. Also for drainage in offshore regions, the mechanical work processes of these trees could be used purposefully. These wind-powered plants were the main engines of technology before the steam engine and later engines were developed in the wake of the Industrial Revolution, gradually taking over the work of the windmills.

History of the windmill

Written evidence shows that windmills were built in antiquity and used in numerous advanced civilizations. In Europe, from the Middle Ages, they were mainly used in low-water lowland regions, where the use of water wheels was not possible. Therefore, old windmills still dominate the landscape in countries like Denmark and Holland as well as some regions of England, France, Spain and Portugal. Windmills were also widespread in Asia and the Middle East in the past. Today, the old buildings are extensively restored in many countries and converted into real estate, museums and gastronomic businesses.

Operation of the windmill

Windmills use the energy of the wind, which hits large wings and sets them in motion. By turning the wings, the vane shaft and the toothed comb wheel are moved inside the mill. The comb wheel displaced by the rotation of the so-called bunker and subsequently the drive spindle in motion, which drive the crusher referred to as Mahlgang. In addition to grinding and crushing, windmills were also used to pump and scoop water in many areas and played an important role in wetland drainage.