Most of the windmills in England were used for one of two purposes
- grinding corn
- pumping water for drainage
The term "industrial windmills" refers to mills used for purposes other than these two.
A gazetteer compiled by Roy Gregory currently included more than 172 known examples of such mills in the UK.
There are of course numerous wind turbines which produce electricity from the
power of the wind. However this page is restricted to windmills of substantially
traditional design, so out-and-out turbines are excluded.
Grinding other materials
Ore crushing etc
- Schoose Farm, Workington, Cumbria - threshing
Bayston Hill, Shropshire - processing hemp and flax fibres, and also drove a rope walk
Examples in the rest of the world
Windmills for crushing sugar cane to extract the sugar contained in the juice were common throughout the Caribbean.
- Perhaps this is stretching the definition of "traditional" too far,
but one of the challenges of the TV series Scrapheap Challenge was to
build a windmill to grind coffee.
- A number of the recorded windmills on the
Isle of Man are recorded as driving threshing machinery.
Powering a railway incline
Powering a boat
Zaan Region in the Netherlands had around 1000 industrial windmills.
A formidable number are still preserved at Zaanse Schans.