Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tilting At Windmills

Windmills were initially used for grinding grain, then pumping water and nowadays, for generating electricity. The first windmills were invented in Persia in the 9th century, with sails made of reed material or cloth. Very similar windmills in China in the 13th century were used for water irrigation.

Windmills used for pumping water were integral to pioneers in the American West. They opened up vast expanses of land for settlement, farming and ranching that didn't have readily available water. Railroads were able to expand, as well, once water became available for their steam locomotives.

The photograph above is of the windmills at Campo Criptana in La Mancha, Spain, made famous by Miguel de Cervantes classic book, "Don Quixote".

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