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Heracles using the web

Wind Power


by Heron of Alexandria

From a PhD Thesis about the history of the Organ (Author unknown but will provide if found):

The power supply for the wind-driven organ relies on the transfer of motion from the “broad arms like the sails of a wind-mill” to the piston mechanism. The arms are attached to one end of a rod, which is supported such that it turns freely. As the arms turn in the wind, the rod conveys a rotary motion to a gear-like pegged disk fitted tightly on the opposite end. The revolving pegs make contact with a lever attached by a pin to the piston rod, causing the piston to be raised as each peg engages the rod mechanism. When the peg advances beyond the lever, the lever is released and the piston descends in the cylinder. The falling piston compresses the air, forcing it out into the base of the cylinder, up through a connecting tube, and into the box on which the pipes stand. As the key mechanism is activated, air is released into the pipes, causing “the sound of a flute” to be produced. To assure a steady supply of air, the windmill frame can be turned directly into the prevailing wind. the wind-powered organ is the only known documented windmill type mechanism in antiquity. Wind power does not reappear in Western civilization until the twelfth century. ....from an historical point of view, these instruments incorporate a manual keyboard, which as an artifact seems to be without precedent. Finally, the gear-like mechanism of the pegged disk attached to the windmill shaft is designed to transfer power from the rotating shaft to the reciprocating piston, thus converting circular to reciprocal motion.

The first electricity-generating windmill was invented and built by Charles Brush in Cleveland, Ohio in the 1880’s ,Scientific American, “Mr. Brush’s Windmill Dynamo,” Vol. LXIII, No. 25, 1, 389 (Dec. 20, 1890). See A WIND DRIVEN POWER GENERATING SYSTEM: PRELIMINARY MODELING OF POWER CURVES

By Sonya Michelle Marthai, Thesis Bachelor of Science Houghton College May 2003

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