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Double-Head Windmill A Real Show Stopper
A rare 100-year-old double-head windmill is now a permanent fixture at the Little Log House Pioneer Village near Hastings, Minn. “It’s one of only three still in existence, and it was the backdrop for a lot of pictures at our July Power Show,” says Steve Bauer, who acquired the fixture from a Southeast Minnesota collector last year.
“I’ve known about this 40-ft. tall windmill for quite a few years and always thought it would make a nice addition to our village,” Bauer says. “Getting it here was a real challenge. We had to remove the 20-ft. diameter finned steel wheels, the gearbox, and a large vane without damaging them. Then we dismantled the base piece by piece.”
After securing the parts on flatbed trailers, they hauled everything to their village site and re-erected it. Bauer’s crew was up to the challenge. Over the years they’ve dismantled and moved nearly 50 old buildings, a large wooden and steel sided grain elevator, railroad equipment, military vehicles, and other historic equipment, including a drive-in restaurant.
Bauer says his unique windmill was built by the Twin Wheel Manufacturing Company in Hutchinson, Kansas. “The company claimed this design could pump 10 times more water than a typical single head windmill,” he says. “It used a chain drive mechanism to transmit the rotary wheel motion to central sprockets, where it was converted to reciprocating pump strokes.”
Bauer says he heard that the chains often broke, so a newer design had a direct shaft drive and beveled gears to transmit the wind power into a pumping action.
Twin Wheel Manufacturing built windmills from 1917 to 1928. The company was the most unique of 66 different manufacturers in Kansas that built windmills from the mid 1800’s through the 1950’s. Bauer says that to his knowledge the only other Twin Wheel windmill in the U.S. is at the windmill museum in Lubbock, Texas. A third one is in Africa pumping water for a village.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Little Log House Pioneer Village, 21889 Michael Ave., Hastings, Minn. 55033 (ph 651 437-2693; littleloghouseshow.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #5