Windmills of Argentina

Remaining Mills

Buenos Aires (#ar2)

Temaiken Park: wind engine:

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Colon, Entre Rios (#ar3)

Molino Forclaz: tower mill :

Built by Juan Forclaz in 1888, adjacent to an animal powered mill which still exists. Declared a National Historic Monument in 1985.

[homepage] [info]

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Dolores, San Esteban (#ar1)

wind engine:

Argentine manufactured, but often incorrectly stated as by Gustav Eiffel

[info] [info] [info] [info]

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Luján (#ar4)

Complejo Museográfico, "Enrique Udaondo": tower mill :

Originally built in Junin, c1860.


Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Mock Mills

Buenos Aires (#armock1)

Confitería del Molino: Edificio del Molino: windmill sails decorating a city building: [homepage]

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

El Rodeo, Catamarca (#armock2)

El Mirador:

circular tower, with windmill sails attached well below the roof level!


Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Gonzalez Catan (#armock6)

Campanopolis: [homepage]

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

San Carlos de Bariloche (#armock5)

Hosteria del Viejo Molino: tower mill : [homepage]

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Santa Teresita (#armock3)

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Tandil (#armock4)

water tower, disguised as a tower mill, as a monument to Don Quixote:

Flickr images are copyright their individual photographers.

Oberá, Misiones (#armock7)

Park of Nations/Parque de las Naciones:

Carries the Polish coat of arms.

[photo] [photo]

US Government summary of the Argentine market for wind engines

Date: 1925

Trade Information Bulletin, Issues 344-381, U.S. Government Printing Office


There is an excellent market in Argentina for windmills, and statistics of imports testify to a strong preference for windmills of American manufacture. Practically all windmills imported by Argentina since 1915 have come from the United States. Import figures are kept by weight, and those for recent years show the following results: Total imports for 1918, 6,242,394 pounds, all from the United States; total for 1920, 10,551,539 pounds, of which 10,546,274 pounds were from the United States and the others from England; total for 1922, 3,128,807 pounds, of which 3,115,842 pounds were from the United States and the rest from Germany, France, and England; total for 1923, 6,795,382 pounds, all of which came from the United States except 6,109 pounds from Belgium.

Export statistics of the United States show that 5,521 windmills valued at $368,842, and windmill parts valued at $356,620, exclusive of pumps, were exported from the United States to Argentina in 1923. The total value of windmills and parts, other than pumps, exported by the United States to Argentina, in 1923 is therefore $725,462. The corresponding statistics of United States exports to Argentina during 1924 are as follows: Four thousand three hundred and fifty-one windmills, valued at $327,289, and windmill parts, valued at $288,159, exclusive of pumps.

Windmills are considered of utmost necessity to the Argentine farmer and cattle raiser, as flowing water is not common to the greater part of the country. Many of the existing streams dry up in summer and the larger ranches find it necessary to install several windmills over large pastures besides those at the farmhouses.

The use of windmills in Argentina is confined almost exclusively to pumping water for stock and for household use. Very few instances are known where windmills are used for industrial purposes or for irrigation. Although windmills are used over the entire country, it is estimated that three-fourths of them are located in the Provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, and parts of the other Provinces lying in close proximity to Buenos Aires. As a natural consequence of scant population, there are few windmills sold in the extreme northern or southern districts. Winds are favorable to the use of windmills throughout the Republic, although the velocity of the wind is not so great in the northern sections. Winds are extremely high in certain parts of Patagonia, where wheels of small diameter are largely sold. It has been estimated by one of the largest windmill dealers that 90 per cent of the windmills sold in Argentina are used on the ranches and large farms, while the others are destined for family use in small towns. Of the windmills used on the ranches, about 40 per cent have a wheel diameter of 12 feet, 20 per cent of 10-foot size, 20 per cent of 8 feet, 10 per cent of 6 feet, and the others are of 14, 16, and 20-foot diameters. For family use the 8-foot size is most popular. Windmill towers range in height, from 20 to 80 feet, varying according to use and location. Probably 90 per cent of the mills of the entire country use the standard 30-foot tower, while higher towers are used for windmills in sheltered sections and in towns. In southern Patagonia, where high winds prevail, lower towers are used, in some instances lower than 20 feet.

In a very general way, but subject to many exceptions, the depth at which well water is found in Argentina increases as one travels inland from the eastern coast. The wells in close proximity to Buenos Aires and Bahia Blanca are from 12 to 18 feet. In very shallow wells both along the coast and in many sections of the interior the water is salt and unfit to drink. In such cases wells are sunk deeper or cistern water is used. The wells of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Cordoba, and such Provinces of greatest population, vary from 15 to 40 feet. In districts further west the wells are often drilled to almost all depths from 15 to more than 300 feet. It is estimated that nearly 75 per cent of the wells of Argentina are dug and walled in and are less than 40 feet in depth. The others are drilled or bored and curbed with 12 or 15 inch piping. There are a few artesian wells in the mountainous Provinces of Tucuman and Cordoba.

Windmills of seven American manufacturers have been introduced to the Argentine market. These makes have been well advertised and enjoy very wide sales. These mills are of the latest designs, having roller or oilless bearings which are advertised to need attention but once in two or three years. In addition to the seven American makes already on the market, there are seven manufacturers of windmills in Argentina located at Buenos Aires and La Plata, three of which are of considerable importance. The local manufacturers have copied American makes, advertising these mills by the American names. No statistics are available as to the local output, but it is estimated that some 2,000 windmills were manufactured and sold by the Argentine factories in 1924. Prices of American windmills are from 40 to 70 per cent higher than those of domestic manufacture. A well-known windmill from the United States, after all discounts are made, sells for 380 pesos, while a manufacturer in La Plata advertises the same type of mill for 220 pesos. The local firm advertises the windmill as "the John Doe type," using the American name. It is said that the sale of this mill reaches over 100 per month.

Until very recently the motors for windmills of local manufacture, as well as the cylinders, pumps, etc., were imported. Now, however, motors and other parts are largely manufactured in Argentina from imported iron. As this industry becomes better organized and perfected more serious competition might be expected from domestic manufacture. Inasmuch as windmills of American and Argentine manufacture are so well intrenched in this market, a new line would meet with keen competition. The factor of price, however, is always felt in Argentina and there is always room for better and cheaper goods of any sort.

The principal method of distributing windmills in Argentina is through the head offices or agencies in Buenos Aires, which canvass the interior Provinces through country dealers and traveling salesmen. The seven makes of American windmills are handled by large firms at Buenos Aires, which also sell agricultural machinery, hardware in general, sanitary supplies, electrical goods, etc. These firms, in some cases, pay cash on receipt of documents, while others receive credits of 30, 60, and 90 days.

Windmills for household use are generally equipped with a tank in the tower itself, the capacity of the tank varying from 300 to 1,400 gallons, according to the size of the mill and the use of water. For watering livestock, the water is delivered to surface tanks at a short distance from the mill. These tanks are usually constructed of galvanized sheet iron and stand from 48 to 60 inches from the ground. From 4 to 30 sheets are employed in the construction of surface tanks, whose capacities range from 1,800 to more than 200,000 gallons, according to the need or amount of available water.

Windmills destined for foreign shipment are completely knocked down and packed in three separate boxes. The tower is shipped in as many bundles as there are sections, each 10-foot section being made into a separate bundle. For example: A windmill with a 30-foot tower would be shipped in three boxes and three bundles, the motor, wheel, and vane being packed in separate boxes, and each 10-foot section of the tower in separate bundles. The shipping space required for windmills varies according to the size of the mill. A 6–foot mill weighing from 200 to 300 pounds net and from 350 to 450 pounds gross would be packed in three boxes to occupy 15 cubic feet, exclusive of tower, which is shipped in separate bundles. Mills of 8, 10, 12, and 14 feet occupy from 20 to 60 cubic feet of shipping space. Standard towers of 30 feet for 6, 8, and 10 foot mills weigh from 380 to 475 pounds, while 30-foot towers for larger mills weight considerably more.

Windmills - including motor, tower, and iron pump, but not including pipes - are classified under paragraph 1320 of the Argentine import tariff and are subject to an import duty of 32 per cent. This 32 per cent is assessed, not on the commercial or invoice value, but on the "aforo" or officially fixed valuation for customs purposes, which is 12 centavos gold per net kilo (11.58 cents at par per 2.2 pounds). This makes the duty, in reality equivalent to a specific rate of 3.84 gold pesos per 100 kilos, or $1.68 United States currency (exchange at par) per 100 net pounds. If parts are imported in bundles, the 32 per cent ad valorem is assessed on the official valuation of 12 centavos gold per gross kilo. In the case of galvanized-iron pipes and tubing the official valuation is 12 centavos gold per net kilo, and 8.4 centavos gold per net kilo on galvanized-iron sheets from which fan wheels are made. On each of these the usual 32 per cent is assessed on the fixed valuation. In short, it might be said that windmills pay an equivalent of $1.68 specific duty per 100 pounds net and that galvanized-iron sheets for manufacturing windmills pay $1.18 per 100 pounds net weight.

As will be noted in the table of statistics, over 60 per cent of all the pumps imported into Argentina are from the United States. Germany and Great Britain are our chief competitors. Almost all kinds of pumps are sold in the market. Besides the pumps for windmills, American power pumps, lift, and hand pumps are already well introduced.

Customs duty placed on pumps imported to Argentina range from 1.54 to 6.17 cents United go currency per pound, according to the metal used in their manufacture.


[Windmills] [Watermills] [Bookshop] [News] :

Last updated 27/07/2020 Text and images © Mark Berry, 1997-2020 -