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Repair Service For Water-Pumping Windmills
Old fashioned water-pumping windmills are making a big comeback. And that has boosted business for a California couple who have been providing windmill parts and service for more than 30 years.
Paul Petrocchi and Ellen Sattler travel all over the U.S. fixing windmills. One of the popular “fixes” Petrocchi devised is a gear box with an oil seal and roller bearing.
“I got tired of working on towers and getting greasy,” he explains. “The oil seal and roller bearing system is much like the wheel bearing system on an automobile. Oil stays in the tank so parts don’t wear out.”
He guarantees the box won’t leak for 15 years. “I even have a gearbox that doesn’t require oil if you’re not going to pump,” he adds.
Their main focus is vintage Aermotor windmills, though they have parts for other models as well. When they travel to repair windmills, they take trade-ins and shop for parts to stock in their California shop.
Petrocchi started working on windmills as a young man when he got an internship at a Berkeley, Calif., windmill factory. He met Ellen in the 1980’s and they started working on windmills together while also working other jobs.
“Eventually Paul saw that the windmill business was more fun and much less stress,” Sattler says.
In the beginning, Petrocchi assumed most of his customers would be back-to-nature folks, but it turns out many kinds of people have windmills.
“It runs the full gamut from farmers and ranchers to hobby farmers and those who just like to watch the windmill spin. Decorative windmills are half of our business,” Petrocchi says. “Sometimes they are used to aerate ponds or water troughs. And we’ve even seen water-pumping mills used to pump oil.”
Their company, American Windmill, has a website filled with do-it-yourself information as well as windmills and parts to purchase. The couple also welcome phone calls after 8 a.m., but remind customers they are on Pacific time.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, American Windmills, P.O. Box 1187, Diamond Springs, Calif. 95619 (ph 530 644-3008 Pacific time; www.windmills.net; ellen@windmills.net).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #6