Wind Charger Hall of Fame

1916 - 1956


Aer Zephyr                                                                                      Spencer, Iowa

Aermotor                                                                                       Chicago, Illinois

Aero-Electric                                                       Medicine Hat, Alberta CANADA

Air Electric Machine Co.  Wind Impeller Co.                                    Jewell, Iowa

Established by Carl Christensen in Jewell, Iowa, Air Electric Machine would move to Newton before settling in Lohrville in 1937. The early Air Electric machines were a 4 blade direct drive design with a vane control mechanism to turn off in high winds. The  most popular Air Electric Machine was an upwind 32 volt / 1250 watt, direct drive model with a two blade propellor approximately 12 ft in diameter. Governing paddles were used to limit speed on the two blade style machines and “streamlined” nacelles would be introduced. Air Electric Machine offered a larger 32 volt unit rated 2500 watts. An “Air Electric” battery was supplied in 280 to 380 Ah sizes for the 1250 watt machine and 380 to 430 Ah sizes for the larger 2500 model. Both units were available in 110 volt models, rated 2500 and 5000 watts respectively, and supplied with a 160 Ah or 430 Ah 56 cell battery.  After REA and WWII, Carl Christensen’s sons produced the “Chris Cut” rotary mower for several years. Today in the original factory, Carl’s grandchildren manufacturer ornamental lawn windmills that can be seen throughout the country as a nostalgic reminder of simpler times.

C. H. Carlson                                                                    Minneapolis, Minnesota

The C. H. Carlson Manufacturing Company produced the “Silver Beam” Wind Electric Plant. The 3-blade, upwind, direct drive design was fitted with an adjustable centrifugal governor to regulate speed of the 14 foot diameter propellor. It was available in both 32 and 110 volt models and offered with 50 to 90 foot 4-post towers and batteries. The 32 volt model battery was rated 307 to 600 Ah and the 110 model either 160 or 260 Ah

Currier Manufacturing / WESCO                                   Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Delco-Light/General Motors                                                     Detroit, Michigan

For a brief period in 1938, Delco-Light brought a wind charger to the market to help with the impact of REA. The Hi-Power Electric Plant featured a 12 foot propellor with fly-ball governor driving helical gears to a high speed 4-pole generator rated 1000 watts at 32 volts. Incorporating the Hi-Power wind charger with a Delco-Light was promoted as an effective way to deliver more power with less fuel, extend engine life, improve battery performance, and assure a constant supply of electricity. With REA market pressure, WWII looming ,and Delco-Light falling out of favor with the auto portion of GM the effort did not last very long and any units produced are extremely rare.

Fritschle                                                                                    Denver, Colorado

Herbert E. Bucklin Corporation - HEBCO                                 Elkhart, Indiana

As early as 1920, Bucklin’s first product was a liquid-cooled, gasoline farm electric plant rated 1500 watts and offered with a Globe battery. By 1928, they would introduce a 2 blade wind charger with the “new” airfoil type propellor system that was 11 1/2 feet in diameter. Offered in 3 configurations - Model 30 was 32 volt/25 A, the Model 65 was rated 32 volt/45, and the Model X was 110 volt/25 A. The Model 30 included a 260 Ah battery while the Model 65 and Model X were supplied with a 305 Ah battery. A 50 foot four-post towers was standard and additional heights available in 10 foot increments. HEBCO would be acquired by Universal Battery in Chicago and produced throughout the 1930’s.

Jopp Electric                                                                       Princeton, Minnesota

Lejay Manufacturing Company                                      Minneapolis, Minnesota

In addition to being a manufacturer, Lejay was a full service farm electric supplier . The store and catalog offered their wind charger, the electrical parts to build one, farm light plants, batteries, radios, motors, welding equipment, and a myriad of items related to farm life and electricity. In addition to 6 volt radio chargers, a 32 volt model rated 600 watts was manufactured. The 2 blade propeller, 7 feet in diameter, was protected in high winds by a pilot vane that turned the blades edgewise to the wind, It sold for $65.95 with 6 foot stub tower, the 242 Ah battery cost $131, and a guyed tower were available in 10 foot sections from 20 to 60 feet high.

McColly                                                                                   Hinsdale, Montana

H. F. McColly, an agricultural engineer with the North Dakota Agricultural College Extension Service, published “Homemade Six-Volt Wind-Electric Plants” in 1935. The “Special Circular” described in detail the design of a wind charger to charge a rural radio. It is not known if he would go on to manufacture and sell this wind charger design.

Emil Magneson                                                                 Backoo, North Dakota

Charles E. Miller Co.                                                               Anderson, Indiana

Nelson Electric                                                                             Spencer, Iowa

Nelson offered a well designed 8-pole, slow-speed generator with a 3 blade propellor 12 feet in diameter with an automatic governor. The company was acquired by Jacobs in 1942 and renamed Allied Electric Company. The 8-pole Nelson generator, which Jacobs liked, was fitted with an innovative blade actuated governor developed by Jacobs for a special cathodic protection model and was later used on all Jacobs models. The Nelson/Allied machine would later be incorporated into the Jacobs line as the “economical” Airway Model 35 with a 13 foot propellor and rated 1400 watts. It “produced 200 kWh per month” and was offered with a 3-post tower 52, 66, or 79 feet tall.

Parker-McCrory / PARMAK                                             Kansas City, Missouri

The Parmak 6 volt Vulcan Electric Plant for radio and light service had a 6 foot airfoil type propellor included an 11 foot roof mounted stand and control panel. The automatic pressure governor would push the rotor to the side in high winds and a drum brake connected the propellor to the direct-drive generator. Today, Parker-McCrory serves farmers by manufacturing Parmak electric fencing systems.

Perkins Corporation                                                             Mishawaka, indiana

One of the early companies to offer a wind charger, Perkins manufactured a 14 foot diameter vane type propellor driving a 1000 watt Westinghouse generator. It was sold with a 50 foot 4-post tower and a 240 Ah U.S.L. battery. The vane type propellor would be replaced with a smaller 10 foot diameter high speed aerofoil type and reintroduced as the “Aerolectric”. Perkins would be acquired along with HEBCO by Universal Battery Company and both would continue to be produced through the 1930’s

Pioneer                                                                                         Chicago, Illinois

Ruralite Engineering Company                                                 Sioux City, Iowa

Founded in 1937 by J. A. Jones and Ernst. A. Arndt. Mr Arndt was the engineering and production manager and had extensive experience with Parris-Dunn and Wincharger. Ruralite planned to offer two 6 volt radio wind chargers and three 32 volt whole home units from 500 to 2500 watts. Arndt would later go on to work with Wind Power Light Company in Newton, iowa. Jacobs would acquire Ruralite in 1942 primarily for their copper material quota and closed down the business shortly thereafter.

Universal Battery Co.                                                                  Chicago, Illinois

The Universal Battery Company  was an important supplier of batteries to both the farm and wind electric manufacturers. In the mid-1930‘s, Universal acquired both HEBCO and Perkins Electric wind machines and offered wind electric plants with their battery sets and 4-post towers from 50 to 100 feet high.. Ultimately, Jacobs would acquire the wind assets of Universal during WWII - again, primarily for their copper quotas.          

White                                                                                             Wichita, Kansas

The “White Super Windcharger” was the classic “radio and light bulb” system. The 6 volt, 6 foot two blade, direct drive generator included a 6 foot stub tower to be mounted on an out building or old windmill tower. Packaged and sold with a large battery, radio, and light bulbs, White understood and excelled in the marketing of their product.

Wind Motor                                                                             Ridgeway, Montana

Wind King                                                                                          Merrill, Iowa

The Wind-King, founded by Russell Swanson, produced as many as 5 models. An 850 watt model had 2 blades while the larger models were 3 blade with a direct-drive 6-pole generator and rated 1250, 1500, 2000, and 2200 watts. in 1936, he applied for a patent on a centrifugal system to raise a small “air brake” on the trailing side of each blade to reduce lift and limit speed - similar to the air brakes on the upper side of a jetliner wing that lifts to slow down prior to landing.

Wind Electric Company                                              Wyndmere, North Dakota Incorporated in 1916 by George Mankowski, his first machine, the “Aerolite”, had a traditional vane-type propeller. George had a huge impact on the history of this technology and was a pioneer in selling wind electric plants. The company name changed to The Aerodyne Company when they move to Minneapolis to produce the first direct drive wind electric generator. The “Aerodyne Jr.” was an upwind 3-blade design with a flyball type governor that was rated 1000 watts. A larger model, the “Aerodyne Sr.”, was a 3 blade downwind direct drive design with a 17 foot diameter rotor and rated 2500 watts. Aerodyne would ultimately move to Sioux City, Iowa.