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Cool Things - Queen Windmill

Queen windmill

The Great Plains' apparently inexhaustible supply of wind made windmills an important source of power to ranchers and farmers.

Windmills pumped water from the underground water supply for families and livestock, and were important factors in the development of railroads and towns.

The Queen windmill at the Kansas Museum of History was produced by the Lima Manufacturing Company of Lima (now Howe), Indiana. The company was organized in November 1885 by Charles G. Nichols and G. W. Libey to manufacture windmills as well as other goods. The factory included a foundry along with metalworking and woodworking departments. The entire mill was produced in this plant; no components were contracted out to other makers.

It is difficult to determine the actual dates of production for Queen windmills as relatively few of them were ever made. The last reference to the Lima Manufacturing Company appears in 1893 (the Panic of 1893 may have caused the company to fail). By this time there was considerable competition not only from the makers of other wooden windmills but also from companies making steel mills. By1900 all-metal windmills were dominant across the Plains.

This model features 32 red and white wooden blades on its colorful wheel. It is a direct-stroke machine in which one revolution of the wheel produces one reciprocal pump stroke. The vane reads "LIMA MFG. / LIMA, IND" on one side and "QUEEN / S. E. KEENER GENL. AGT. CLAY CENTER KAS." on the other side. Keener was the local dealer for this mill, which pumped water for a farm in Wabaunsee County, Kansas, before being donated to the Kansas Historical Society in 1984.

The Queen windmill may been seen on display in the main gallery of the society's Kansas Museum of History. The museum collection also includes an all-metal Currie windmill.

Entry: Cool Things - Queen Windmill

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2003

Date Modified: December 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.