Model of Efficiency: Aermotor Self-Oiling Windmill

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Photo courtesy David Schnakenberg
A chromolithograph of the Aermotor Self-Oiling Windmill from David Schnakenberg's collection of farm machinery advertising.

In 1882 and 1883, Thomas Perry was employed by U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co. to build a wind tunnel in which he conducted more than 5,000 experiments to develop an efficient steel windmill wheel. By the end of those trials, Perry had developed a completely new concave sheet steel-blade wheel that was greater than 87 percent more efficient than the wooden wheels manufactured by U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co. and other windmill companies of the day.

When the conservative U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co. rejected his design, Perry searched for financial backing to put his windmill wheel into production. Perry had met LaVerne Noyes at U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co., which also manufactured Noyes’ haying tool designs. In 1888 Noyes, Perry and other investors organized a company to manufacture Perry’s scientifically designed windmill. Noyes selected the name “Aermotor” for this new company. FC

Grateful acknowledgement is given to David Schnakenberg, who contributed this image from his collection of pre-1910 chromolithographs of farm machinery advertising. For more information, contact him at 10108 Tamarack Dr., Vienna, VA 22182; (703) 938-8606;; view the Schnakenberg Collection.

To submit a vintage advertisement for publication, send it to: Iron Age Ads, Farm Collector, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or submit high-quality digital images by email:

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