Wind Power, 1940s style

smith putnam wind turbineThis is how wind turbines were supposed to look, at least in the 1940s. It’s the experimental Smith-Putnam 1.25 MW unit than ran for a short while on a hill near Rutland, VT. The picture’s from a rather falling-apart copy of Large Horizontal-axis Wind Turbines (Thresher, R. W., & Solar Energy Research Institute. (1982). Large horizontal-axis wind turbines: Proceedings of a workshop held in Cleveland, Ohio, July 28-30, 1981. Golden, Colo: Solar Energy Research Institute) that I rescued from Jim‘s recycling years ago.

The first part of these proceedings has a historical review of the Smith-Putnam turbine, including an excerpt from the S. Morgan Smith Company’s house organ on the project. As the rest of the book is pretty much all about the MOD series of turbines, it’s of less interest. I’ve scanned the bits about the Smith-Putnam turbine, and put them here: NASA_DOE-1981-large_horizontal_axis_wind_turbines-excerpt. If anyone wants the book, let me know. It’s very ratty, but readable.

I’ve written about this turbine before, but in relation to a packet of crayons. More awesome turbine pictures from Paul Gipe: Smith-Putnam Industrial Photos.

the colour of

I picked up these crayons at the GE Wind stand at CanWEA:

ge ecomagination crayola

Yes, those really are the colour names – Purification Purple, Evolution Orange, Mother Earth Brown, Cleaner Coal Black, Solar Yellow, Revitalized Red, Hybrid Green, Clear Water Blue.

ge ecomagination crayola

Is there a connection between wind power and crayons? Wait until I don my polyester leisure jacket, James Burke-style, until I tell you: Edwin Binney, inventor of Crayola, had a daughter (Dorothy) who married George P. Putnam. Putnam went on (with only a short detour into promoting then marrying the person for whom the word “aviatrix” is most often used, Amelia Earhart) to help create the Smith-Putnam wind turbine (itself perhaps the most heroically unsuccessful story in the history of wind energy).Wind turbines; crayons: it’s all connected, see?

Maybe I should’ve picked up a bunch of these at the show, as even a ratty package of them is going for over $30 on eBay. I’m glad that mine are already on their way to a 4 year old in Ohio, where they will be appreciated more than by any collector.