History of Technology 1: Post Mills and Tower Mills

Windmills: they're good for more than just tricky miniature golf holes.

LanguageEnglish Language
TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:25

trying to harness it. Well still if winds all we got we might as well make do.

00:30

People made many varieties of windmill in their quest to laze about and let [Man sat in a deckchair as 'mother nature' turns the windmill]

00:35

mother nature do the work for them, and in their quest to make the best

00:39

miniature golf courses ever. Post mills were the first kind of windmill in [Miniature gold course full of windmills]

00:43

Europe appearing some time in the 12th century. Well a post mill was built above

00:48

a central post so it could pivot. With a pivoting mill you could turn to face the [Wind changes sides and the mill follows]

00:53

wind, well this was a seriously big deal in Northern Europe where wind patterns are

00:58

constantly shifting. If folks couldn't turn their mills they had a really ugly lawn

01:03

ornament that just sat there 75% of the time. Well post mills were the most common

01:07

type of mill for centuries, they were cheap to build and they usually worked. [People building a post mill]

01:12

Then the tower mill hit the scene with a bang. In a tower mill the main body of [Tower mill drops from the sky]

01:16

the mill is fixed to the ground and only the very top section turns in the wind.

01:21

They usually include a second smaller set of sails on the side of the mill and

01:26

these would automatically turn the big sales to face the wind less work for

01:30

human beings all you betcha, and isn't that always the goal.. but we're asking [Person in a hammock]

01:35

Siri, come on, you thought we were gonna think about something... Anyway tower mills

01:39

could be way bigger because they didn't have to spin around completely, the bigger [Much bigger tower mill next to a post mill]

01:43

windmill is the more power it generates they definitely gave the old post mills the

01:48

short meal syndrome. Well power mills were all that jazz until the Industrial [Post mill looks jealous]

01:53

Revolution when wind and water got kicked to the curb in favor of steam and coal

01:57

but windmills still had some uses. Well in the mid-1850s a new kind of windmill

02:02

was born wind pumps which use wind power to pump water out of deep wells. [Metal windmill spinning]

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They were small metal and had lots of blades rather than three or four sails, in the

02:14

mid 19th century Europeans made their way to some hostile environments, the [Europeans travelling across the world]

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American Southwest, Australia and South Africa. To farm the way they were used to

02:23

farming they needed more water. Well old-school European windmills could pump [Man looking for pizza in the desert]

02:28

water out of wells but what were they going to build those huge clunky

02:33

mills out of... Cacti? Tumbleweeds? The shattered dream of the indigenous people

02:37

they conquered and destroyed.. Well they probably would have tried that last one [Windmill made of hopes and dreams]

02:42

if they thought it'd work instead the Halliday wind pump was invented. They were

02:46

metal lightweight cheap and soon they were everywhere picture a scenic little [Halliday wind pumps appearing]

02:51

farm in Texas with a squeaky old windmill turning gently in the wind.

02:55

Yeah well those metal wind pumps were so common that they changed the landscape

02:59

of the American West and the stage sets of many future productions of Oklahoma. [Halliday wind pump on stage]

03:04

(Singing) "Oklahoma, blowing in the wind" all that. Yeah well theatre fact, all actors know

03:10

they're only in a legit production if it features a Halliday wind pump.

03:15

Yeah try harder there next time Hamilton. [Footage of a play]