The history of windmills reaches back 3700 years, all the way to the 2nd millennia BC when Babylonian ruler Hammurabi supposedly unveiled his plans to convert the power of the wind using an automated network of irrigation windmills that would provide water to his land. First examples of “Post Mills” started being made around the 11th century. 

The first windmill manufactured in the United States was designed by Daniel Halladay, who began inventing windmills in 1854 in his Connecticut machine shop. 

Windmills were needed in the United States to pump underground water to the surface. As soon as their design and manufacture had been perfected, the mills became the prominent feature of the American landscape, not only in the western two-thirds of the nation but also in the East and particularly in the Midwest. 

During the first two decades of American windmill manufacture, all the mills were wooden. Their wheels and vanes were made from wood with some iron and steel parts to hold them together and to form the working parts of their heads. By the 1870s a new style mill made from iron and steel began appearing, although another two decades passed before substantial numbers of all-metal mills came into general production. 

This windmill is a 1938 Aermotor Model A-702 with an 8-foot wheel. It was donated by the Robert “Bob” Tullock Jr. family and originally came from the ranch owned by Art Von Dollen of San Miguel and installed by Templeton business owner Roy W. Knauft.

The historic Aermotor Windmill from the Von Dollen Ranch on display at the Templeton Historical Society Museum

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