Windmühlen Im Wandel der Jahrhunderte

    Full details

    English titleWindmills over the centuries
    Authors & editors

    Frode, Wolfgang [Author]

    Publisher Verlag Fachtechnik + Mercator Verlag, Duisburg
    Year of publication 1989

    German (main text)

    Medium Book

    Wind & watermills > Other Europe (not GB) > Germany, Austria & Switzerland


    Scope & contentSummary TranslationThis book focuses on windmills in the Lower Rhine region of Germany, from Cologne in the south to Kleve (Cleves) in the north, while putting them in the European context.
    The inner front cover shows a map of the Lower Rhine with 61 windmills, indicating their current state. The inside back cover shows different types of windmill sails found in the area.
    The book begins with a look at the origins of mills in general and then in Europe in particular, where the first windmills appeared in the 12th century. The first known windmill in Germany was probably in Cologne, and dated from 1222. All early European examples were post mills. The following chapters cover the development of mill: tower mills, the change from post mills to wip mills, paltrok grain mills, cap winders and the use of cap winders as grain mills.
    The following chapter looks at later technical innovations, including spring sails and Bilau sails.
    The book then deals with the decline in windmills: after a gradual decline at the end of the 19th century, the number of windmills in Germany fell by more than half between 1907 and 1925. In the late 1950s the West German government gave millers financial inducements to give up their work: at the time of writing there were only 400 left in West Germany, of which only one tenth were still wind-powered. The rest of the book – apart from the concluding paragraphs on the prospects for wind energy – looks in detail at several mills the Lower Rhine area, which it divides into three parts: north, central and south. The Rhineland was the first part of Germany to use windmills, and at the time of writing had more windmills than any other part of the Federal Republic. In the 1960s there was a movement to restore old mills, but much of the restoration was done unskilfully: the sails were often too short, which rendered them unusable. Furthermore, the wrong kind of wood was often selected, and needed frequent replacement. But lessons have been learnt and improvements made.The Cleves area has the most windmills in the Rhineland; the mill at Donsbrüggen is a particularly good example which dates from 1821 and has been well restored with the help of a supporters’ group, and now mills grain and has a bread oven. The central region has fewer mills, but the oldest remaining mill in the Rhineland, dating from 1481 is at Kempen, where it is part of the town fortifications. In the south there are still four wind-operated cap winders. The Waldfeuchter mill is the last one in the Rhineland to be operated professionally, producing animal fodder. When there is no wind, the miller has a back-up electric motor. The book is fully illustrated with photos and drawings.

    Copies held

    Accession no. 229638

    • Shelf location: C114-FRO
    • Donor: Ken Major Collection
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