Windmills may look like charming decorative pieces on old fashioned farms, but the structures actually have several useful purposes. Centuries ago, windmills were used on farms for everything from pumping water to generating machinery. The windmill was actually an early form of electricity, giving power to farm equipment and helping to grind crops.
Windmills were often used on farms to pump water underground, cleaning water that could be used for crops, drinking or washing. The water was pumped until purified, then the gears on the windmill irrigated the water to where it needed to go. This helped particularly on farms where there wasn't a nearby water source.
The windmill was used to grind crops from the fields, like wheat or even spices. Some ingredients commonly ground with a windmill included grains and corn, which were sold or baked into bread. Lime, chalk and cocoa were also ground using the gears generated by the windmill's wind power.
Some popular farm machinery, like pulleys, were powered by a windmill. This was done by the wind turning gears and shifts connected to the windmill, which allowed the movement of the machinery. This was an early solution before electricity was available to farmers.
Today, farmers and industrialists capitalised on the early windmill model to use windmills in new ways. Wind power is an alternative to solar power or electricity, as the wind power can be harvested and used to power just about anything electricity can power, from homes to businesses.
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