The Great Windmill War

In the late 1800s, competition was fierce and windmill companies were waging war on each other


| April 2004


Don Quixote wasn't the only one who ever tilted at windmills.

In the wind-driven spring of 1892, Challenge Windmill & Feed Mill Co., of Batavia, Ill., squared off against its archrivals, the Aermotor Co. and the U.S. Wind Engine & Pump Co. of Kansas City, Mo.

At issue was Aermotor's flagrant claim, published in the April 1892 issue of Farm Tool Journal, that the Challenge-made windmill towers in the state of New York were blown down or severely damaged by a storm that swept through the region.

Challenge fought back with this scathing rebuttal addressed to the editors of Farm Implement News: "We wish to put on record our statement that out of the hundreds of our company's steel windmills and towers in the great state of New York, not a single one was injured and not one cent was paid out for repairs of any kind."

To press the point, executives at Challenge presented a half-dozen letters from farmers across the country, praising Challenge's Daisy, Dandy and O.H. windmills. "None of these brands had been damaged by the severe March storm," a company statement claimed.

Big business

The windmill business in the United States was extremely competitive in its heyday between 1890 and 1920. From a meager start just before the Civil War, the various windmill companies had grown to employ 600 workers by 1879, and sales had reached more than a million dollars a year.

By 1889, sales had doubled and within a decade wind engine sales doubled again. In 1919, nearly 2,000 employees were working in dozens of American windmill factories with total annual revenue reaching about $10,000,000.






SUBSCRIBE TO FARM COLLECTOR TODAY!

Farm Collector April 16Farm Collector is a monthly magazine focusing on antique tractors and all kinds of antique farm equipment. If it's old and from the farm, we're interested in it!

Save Even More Money with our SQUARE-DEAL Plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our SQUARE-DEAL automatic renewal savings plan. You'll get 12 issues of Farm Collector for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Farm Collector for just $29.95.




Facebook Pinterest YouTube


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265