Windmills in the West
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Windmills in the West

Memoir of T.C. Thompson

In early July of 1890 my father arrived in Amarillo via the Fort Worth and Denver Railroad….Immediately he left by freight wagon for Littlefield…

Most popular windmills of this early period were the direct stroke Wood Eclipse and Wood Star for farm and ranch water supply. There were some open gear Aermotor and steel Star mills used however….

Since none of these mills were self-oiling, ranchers made a practice of oiling each mill once a week and most of them kept a regular windmill man whose only duty was to keep the windmills in good working condition. Water storage was provided by the building of surface tanks on top of the ground and then building a dirt levee around the tank [and] then plowing and pulverizing the sod between the tank and levee to hold water….

Windmill[s] also furnished refrigeration for the early houses. Around the tower under the mill was built the milkhouse in which there was a barrel. Water was pumped into this barrel from which it ran through a deep box or trough in which the milk in crocks or jars was set. This box would be 4, 6, or 8 feet long, about 2 feet wide, and 12 inches deep with a cover. Cloths spread over the jars and crocks and extending down into the running, cold fresh water kept them cold. The water ran on into a surface tank or stock tank. Mills were left running almost constantly to keep the supply needed for house, stock, and to irrigate gardens.

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