You know how different they look. The new windmills look a lot like propeller engines off an airplane, while the old guys look like a combination light house and sailing ship!
But are they really that different? Well, as in most things, the answer is a resounding yes – and no!
I can’t already decide which ones are prettier. Of course, the old windmills are beautiful to me. They bring back a sense of calm and functional beauty. Stirring dreams, and already nightmares, of old times and old movies. However, when I stand on Boston shelter and see the huge sleek windmill that single-handedly powers a little town on its edge, I see a different beauty and a different dream – a world that works with character instead of at its peril.
So what are the similarities and differences between the two beyond my sometimes serendipitous imagination? truly, there are lots of them.
Let’s Take A Look:
Form: Although they hardly already resemble each other, they are very much alike in form. Both are tall – to get them up there where the wind blows. Both have propellers that catch the wind. Both have a mechanism that transfers the strength of the wind down into the machine they run. The differences in their look comes more from the influences of their times than in real form.
Function: Again, there are meaningful similarities. The basic function of each is to capture the strength of the wind and move it into strength that does the work of man. However, in function lies one of the biggest differences between the two.
The old guy transferred strength “directly”. For example, he sat over the water supply and the mechanism that brought the strength down turned the pump that sent the water whenever it was needed. That’s how we were able to use windmills long before we learned to harness the surprise of electricity.
The new supermodel windmill transfers strength indirectly by an intermediary. Her spinning ‘wings’ move strength to a mechanism that generates electricity, which can then be carried over wires and cables to wherever we need it. This allows people who don’t live near the mill to nevertheless use its strength.
Future: Anyone who’s traveled away form the cities to areas where water is less easy to come by has probably seen an old guy nevertheless working away. Possibly on the same day you’ve seen a new wind farm- in the middle of nowhere – spinning for all they’re worth to supply strength to cities far away.
For all their similarities and differences, windmills have made man’s life better for hundred’s of years and will most likely become more and more important as man figures out better ways to harness the wind. And why not? Wind is free, clean and I don’t think it’s going to run out any time soon. I sure hope not!
If you’re not as enamoured of the new, sleek, industrial look of the new windmill generators – just think of a world without pollution. Where the coral reefs are growing more prolific and life is thriving. Don’t they look just a little better to you now?