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Ready for the Windmillers' Trade Fair

by Leslie McManus

Tags: International Windmillers' Trade Fair, windmills, restoration,

The International Windmillers’ Trade Fair will be the first stop on my summer show circuit.

  Model 12 Dempster windmill
Erecting an 8-foot Model 12 Dempster (pre-1930) here on the ranch, October 2008.

Held June 3-5 at the Butler County 4-H Fairgrounds in El Dorado, Kan., the event is small but mighty.

Windmill enthusiasts attend from all over the country, bringing everything from stunning salesman’s samples to equally handsome restored full-size wheels.

These folks could probably award college credit to attendees. There’s heavy emphasis on sharing information, and many of the people present are very, very knowledgeable about windmills, their history and their role in American agriculture.
Removing masking tape after painting.
The Dempster wheel, restoration complete.
The completed towers. 

Click any of these thumbnail images for a larger version.
The Aermotor wheel, during final stages of restoration (Barry McManus at back).
Barry used hot dip galvanized hardware in tower construction.
A view through the tower.

Octagonal platform on the Aermotor tower
The octagonal platform on the Aermotor tower.

This topic hits pretty close to home for me, as there’s been a flurry of windmill activity here on the ranch this spring.

My husband, Jeff, has been restoring two windmills and his brother, Barry McManus, has constructed towers for them. Both windmills are owned by Ron Drosselmeyer, Two Buttes, Colo.

The first is an 8-foot Demster 12A, possibly dating to the 1930s or ’40s. The head had fallen from its original site near Campo, Colo., so it now has all new sheet tin. It’s going on a 25-foot tower made of full-dimension Douglas fir poles and treated lumber.

The second is a totally original 6-foot Aermotor (a 702?) dating to the 1950s. It’ll go on a 22-foot tower built of the same materials as the other tower, but slightly different design.

The restorers’ goal was a blend of historical accuracy and aesthetics.

“We know these aren’t 100 percent historically accurate,” Jeff says, “but we wanted them to be durable and visually appealing.”

Both towers will be in perfect working order when complete, but will be used for display only.

But first there’s some ground to cover: in less than two weeks, they’ll be headed south on a semi, bound for El Dorado, where they’ll join the display at the trade fair. From there, they’ll head west to Two Buttes for permanent display.

If you can swing a trip to southeast Kansas, come see these and much, much more at the trade fair. We’ll be looking for you!

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