Thursday, June 24, 2010

Windmills 7.2.1980

The distinctive designs of the five Windmill stamps reflect the evolution of windmills in America - from ideas imported from Holland to the classic American wind machine of the Southwest United States. Featured are a post grist type windmill in Virginia, three windmills of the smock variety, and the modern Texas-style "wind-engine". This is the first time a US stamp booklet has contained more than one stamp design on a topical theme. Issued Feb 7, 1980, Lubbock, Texas. Quoted from the Windmills Booklet, Scott 1742a, issued 2/7/1980
The prairie flower's slender stem reaches skyward while the steel-petaled blossom revolves in the wind. As the endless Texas plain recedes into the distance, this floral species becomes recognizable as an American windmill. Invented around 1860 and used widely throughout the United States, this windmill displays a greater number of blades than its European predecessor. Originally made of wood, but now made of metal, American wind-catchers are not as pretty, nor as graceful as European windmills; but, they have done their jobs for over a century. These scrawny mills have drawn water from the ground that is so valuable to the arid west that it transformed the Great American Desert into the Great Plains. The railroads used the windmills to pump running water into their depot tanks, and ranchers used them to irrigate their land. Windmills supplied water to salt mines in Texas and volunteer fire departments throughout the west. At the end of a hot, dusty day on the trail, sweating cowboys chased their four-footed rivals from the barnyard tank and cooled off in the water the windmills provided. Prairie preachers dunked repentant sinners into water tanks to sanctify them. And, the windmills filled the waiting tanks with water that washed clothes and cooled food. Today, the western prairies are still alive with these whirling windmills, as Americans meet an ancient challenge to capture the restless wind.
One of a series of five windmill stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. The stamp depicts an American farm windmill and a water storage tank. This type of wind pump is also known as a "Chicago mill" for the region of the U.S. where hundreds of thousands were built during the 19th century. Generally, I agree with you and Mr. Norm Wright, that not all windmills and high tanks were used for water supply to steam locomotives, but some of them were used for that. And I think that this image is important evidence that some windmills and high tanks were used in the rairoad stations for supplying water to steam locomotives. These superb Windmill FDC’s with the excellent Colorano “Silk” Cachet’s were given to me by my Good friend Hemant.

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