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Wincharger Mike 12-26-2015 05:00 PM

Looking for early wind generator prop(s)
 
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I'm one of the few oddballs that collect the old wind generators and their props. Not many folks are aware that hundreds of thousands of wind generators were used across the US beginning in the 1920's thanks to aviation's development of the wooden propeller. In the US alone, more than 2 dozen companies manufactured wind generators between 1920 and 1950, with the peak occurring in the late 30's. Other companies thrived selling 6V and 32V DC appliances. The industry flourished in large part because it was a technology motivated by necessity, not subsidies. The REA eventually snuffed out the need for the rural "wind charger" and the industry died out until the energy crisis of the 1970's reinvigorated alternate energy. I'm trying to keep this brief so if you would like to know more on the history, visit wincharger.com or windcharger.org.

Most of the wind gen props I see posted on this forum for identification are very obvious wind gen props because of the relatively flat pitch, non-laminated with a simple sheet of copper folded over the leading edge and stapled. It is estimated that the Wincharger Corp made 750,000 machines with props like this. Lengths vary with generator size from 4' to 12'. Wind generators benefit from a low torque, high speed prop and most were made of light woods like Douglas Fir or Sitka Spruce.

A couple of the earliest wind generator companies used props that look like airplane props and were even made by Hartzell. The pic shows a 12' prop made by Hartzell for the Herbert E. Bucklen Corp. (Hebco), Elkhart, Indiana. The 3 props next to it are 6' props from a Jacobs wind generator. I believe what distinguishes the Hebco prop from an airplane prop is the small steel hub, 4" diameter with a 1-1/4" through hole. The Hebco props were 10' to 12', as far as I know. They were stamped Hartzell on the leading edge, made of walnut, 4 ply and may have originally been covered in cloth. I'm interested in all early wind generator props but I'm posting here specifically because I'm looking for a Hebco prop. I'm thinking there is bound to be one hanging on a wall somewhere mistakenly identified as an airplane prop. Thanks

Dbahnson 12-26-2015 10:20 PM

Thanks for that info. We get a lot of "unidentifiable" props shown here, and it's good to know about a variety of other possibilities.


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