1000-year old windmills still in use

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/23/1000-year-old-windmills-still.html


“These are the windmills of my forefathers. Sometimes they need new slats, and sometimes the grindstone needs replacing, but still the same windmills!”


Amazing! Wind and wood make great partners for life.

Brings to mind Theo Janson, one of my favorite kinetic sculptors, His wind powered PVC piping, wood and fabric creations are fantastical creatures brought to life by the force of nature.


Just like the ship of Theseus?


This was really neat to see. Thanks for sharing this, @beschizza.


Nitpick[quote=“Akimbo_NOT, post:3, topic:93420”]
His wind powered wooden creations

Just a nit-pick: he uses plastic tubing, not wood. Saw an exhibit at the Exploratorium and they showed video of him bending and folding it… I think it’s tubing for irrigation. Very cool machines in any case!


Corrected! Added additional fabrication materials.

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Man, they are really tough on their airbender trainees.


Kind of expected to see a droid wander through the scene.

There’s a case for things like this, or the amazing giant waterwheels in Syria*, to be considered ancient monuments worthy of grants to keep them going for future generations just so they can know where we’ve come from.


Trigger’s Broom is funnier


“This, milord, is my family’s axe. We have owned it for almost nine hundred years, see. Of course, sometimes it needed a new blade. And sometimes it has required a new handle, new designs on the metalwork, a little refreshing of the ornamentation . . . but is this not the nine hundred-year-old axe of my family?”

  • Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant

In the movie, you can see him starting a windmill. But how does he stop it?


“What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.


I thought immediately of Trigger’s Broom as well!

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There are lots of cultures this is the standard way of thinking. I was in japan once and they had a 2000 year old wooden temple, looking like new. I asked “is this the same building it always was?”, “yes, yes, off course it is!” they answered. “It has been painted and the broken pieces were replaced just last year.”

Because of earthquakes they never build much in stone, and rebuilding was frequent. So to them only the design was important, they didn’t care much for the materials.

To me it’s an equally valid way of looking at old buildings.


The sound though; it’s like the longest and most metal solo in the world.



To be fair, it is a standard way of thinking here too. The ‘Ship of Theseus’ is an intentional attempt to disrupt that mode of thought. If I have a car, and I replace the carburettor, followed by the wheels, etc… I would probably think of it as the same car all through the process and beyond.


Man, someone needs to show them how bearings work!

Could needle bearings be made from wood, and placed around the driveshaft?

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So I did I miss it, or did the video not explain what the windmills actually do? I mean, here in the west windmills are used to pump water or maybe grind grain. I saw something that looked like a millstone, but it was never really explained. I’m guessing no one wants to maintain the windmills because they don’t need them for the original purpose anymore. It’s simply a living history museum, and there’s no career (at least there) for that.

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There was one shot of someone tossing (sifting?) grain, so likely that’s the purpose, but it was an obvious question that they neglected.