Farmer Wind-Electric Generator Model


Three solid wind wheels drive the armatures of three dynamos, which are in circuit with a small storage battery, an incandescent electric lamp, and switches. This model, constructed by Moses G. Farmer, electrical pioneer, about 1880, is one of the earliest suggestions of the use of wind power through the medium of the electric generator and storage battery.

Much of the objection to the use of the windmill as a source of power was due to the intermittent nature of its operation. It was thought that it was suited only for pumping water or similar operations where the energy or work produced by the windmill could be stored during periods of useful wind velocities to be used as needed.


This description comes from the 1939 Catalog of the Mechanical Collections of the Division of Engineering United States Museum Bulletin 173 by Frank A. Taylor.

Date Made: ca 1882

Maker: Farmer, Moses G.

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Massachusetts

See more items in: Work and Industry: Mechanical and Civil Engineering, Engineering, Building, and Architecture, Work, Industry & Manufacturing


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: from Sarah J. Farmer

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: MC.181985Catalog Number: 181985Accession Number: 2015.0173

Object Name: wind generatorGenerator, Wind

Physical Description: wood (overall material)Measurements: overall - from catalog card: 19 in x 8 in; x 48.26 cm x 20.32 cmoverall: 8 7/8 in x 18 3/4 in x 8 1/8 in; 22.5425 cm x 47.625 cm x 20.6375 cm


Record Id: nmah_846957

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.