Wind Power Wednesday Photo of The Day – Feb 28, 2018

This is widely recognized as the world’s first wind turbine for electricity generation. Look at the size of it compared to the gardener with the lawnmower underneath and to the right of the contraption. It was built for Charles F. Brush, (Wikipedia) a Cleveland inventor and businessman. He made his fame and fortune by designing an improved ‘dynamo’ – electrical generator – for running the popular arc lights of the late 19th century.

This behemoth was built in 1887-88 in the back garden of his mansion in Cleveland on Euclid Avenue. You can see the back of the house in the corner of the photo and the little photo shows it from the front. It was the first home in Cleveland to have electricity and apparently the turbine kept the juice running without interruption for more than 20 years. This article shows it had a huge electric organ and was beautifully outfitted.

All of the literature says the dynamo is 60 feet tall (20 m), but in relation to the gardener it seems even taller. The other specs cited in Wikipedia are that the turbine weighed 80,000 pounds (35,000 kg) and supplied 12kW of power to 350 incandescent lights, 2 arc lights, and a number of motors at his home for 20 years. Its rotor was 50 feet (17m) in diameter and one turn of it resulted in 50 revolutions of the dynamo. It also charged 12 batteries of unknown size.

The dynamo was featured in the Dec. 20, 1890, edition of Scientific American, where it was hailed as the only “successful system of electric lighting operated by means of wind power” known at the time. Here is a link to the text of the original SA article on the Danish Wind Industry Association website

Charles F. Brush High School in Lyndhurst, Ohio is named after Brush, whose sports teams and other groups are named the “Arcs”.


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