Wind-powered battery chargers provided cheap energy before rural electricity
Instead of the familiar "wheel" seen on water-pumping windmills, wind-powered battery chargers featured propeller-like blades. The blades drove the generator more efficiently than the wheel design.
David Ballinger tweaks a 6-volt Wincharger Model 611, part of his Wincharger display at the 2003 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. "My dad had always wanted to find a Wincharger, so my brother and I found a 6-volt for him," says David. "At that point, the three of us had been collecting gas engines, but after we found the Wincharger for Dad, I go interested in theme."
Handsomely restored tail fins on Winchargers in David's collection. He scours tractor and engine swap meets in his hunt for Winchargers and parts. "There aren't that many of these things that have survived," David says.
A complete head from a 32-volt, 650-watt generator from David's collection. Wincharger got its start on a rural Iowa farm, but moved to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1935. Ultimately, Wincharger became the coutry's leading manufacturer of wind-powered battery chargers.
During World War II, Wincharger produced a wind machine used in paratrooper training. Note the Wincharger logo on the unit. Other wartime production by the company included development of the Dynamotor, for use in military aircraft and on ships. After the war, the Dynamotor became the basis for the two-bearing generator still used in pressure washers and other applications.
Courtesy Edward Howard and www.Wincharger.com
This ad offered "A Wincharger for every income," including the top-of-the-line model that would power "a complete electrical system, lots of lights in buildings, refrigerator, radio, washing machine, iron, water pump, toaster, vacuum cleaner, separator, to make life easier for you."
"Free electricity made from the air," promised this Wincharger ad. Wincharger literature is difficult to find and expensive, David Ballinger says.