Wind Electric Plant
Larger wind chargers capable of supplying a farm home soon followed to compete with or be used in conjunction with a farm electric plant. An ever present strong wind in the region insured an abundant supply of wind generated electricity for remote farms. If a home had a farm electric plant, the addition of a wind charger would have a dramatic beneficial effect. The engine operating time would be reduced significantly to a few days per year - less noise, fuel, and maintenance while increasing engine life from years to decades.
The most desirable wind charger was made by the Jacobs Wind Electric Company in Minneapolis. Legendary reliability, excellent performance, and fully automatic operation made Jacobs easily the best wind investment choice. The 14 foot diameter 3-blade propellor/governor and large direct drive generator was available in 1800 W and 2500W models. It was sold with a 4-post tower and battery produced to Jacobs specifications. Thousands of Jacobs wind machines operated for several decades unattended with little or no maintenance - and could be easily overhauled and returned to another lifetime of service. When combined with 850 W Delco-Light, it was a hybrid electric power system that could reliably supply a lifetime of electric power even during long periods of low wind or high seasonal demand.
Although the Depression in the early 1930’s negatively affected all businesses, the farm and wind electric plant manufacturers continued to grow and expand at a slower pace. Delco-Light introduced new state-of-the-art engines and new wind charger manufacturers entered the market. Hundreds of manufacturers, employing 10’s of thousands, continued selling and installing electric power plants and appliances.
Unfortunately, two subsequent events would spell the end of the industry - President Franklin Roosevelt’s Rural Electrification Program and transformation of manufacturing to support the WWII effort in the early 40’s.
Wind Electric Power Plant - The success of the farm electric plant and the invention of the radio led to a new form of competition from the “free energy” in the wind. Initially, most farms without an electric plant could buy a console radio with an automotive type 6 or 12 v battery to power it. When discharged the battery would have to be taken to a service station to be charged. In the windy Great Plains, inventive engineers developed small wind driven generators to charge the battery. The “wind chargers” would supply enough energy for the radio and operate a few electric lights changing rural evenings.