Kansas-built Norton All Steel is star of windmill collection
The Norton All Steel, owned by Terry and Ruby Jantzen, is a rare, Kansas-made windmill
When Terry Jantzen got a chance to buy a unique windmill at the 2009 International Windmillers Trade Fair, he didn’t hesitate. He knew he’d be taking the windmill in question — an All Steel with an 8-foot fan, built by Norton (Kan.) Mfg. Co. — back where it belonged.
The Moundridge, Kan., man has more than 70 windmills in his collection, but he has a definite taste for home cookin’. “I’d like to find other Kansas mills,” he says. “Over the years, there were more than 60 windmill manufacturers in Kansas. Some were one-hit wonders, but some were pretty popular.”
The All Steel fits the former category. Rather than a case made from cast iron, the All Steel’s case is fabricated from 3/16-inch deck plate. Terry dates the mill to the 1930s or ’40s. “Electric welders had just come in back then,” he says. “Maybe some guy came out with this because he could do it all in his own shop. It was probably made in very, very limited production.”
The mill was a bit rough when he bought it. “The pitman was busted and it had a bent shaft,” he says. He built a new shaft and had new castings made for the pitman and one gear. Two missing fan sections were also built. “The fan is kind of unique,” he notes. “It’s attached on the outside of the rims with L clips.” The other four sections and the tail are original.
Terry, who also collects cistern and well pumps and lots of mills “in various states of disrepair,” is currently working on an 8-foot Kirkwood mill built in Arkansas City, Kan. Windmills are a natural for him. “There’s been a mill on our family farm since 1875,” he says. “My mom remembers a Monitor Model L over the well. By the time I came along, it was all gone but the football (the Monitor’s uniquely shaped weight). I found one in Nebraska and that was the start of my disease.” FC
Know anything about Norton Mfg. Co.? Contact Terry Jantzen, (620) 386-0716; email: email@example.com
Read more about windmills in A Windmill Town Celebrates Local Heritage and Batavia, Ill. Holds International Windmillers Trade Fair.