It has been a journey, the installation of our David Bradley/Baker windmill! Keith and his late cousin Dave Ladage first saw the windmill at an auction. This was more years ago than we can count. Keith found the David Bradley windmill near Gillespie, Illinois. I called in the auction bid,
We learned that we had the winning bid during a stay at a B&B.
Keith picked up the windmill that the auctioneer had taken down. After Keith brought it to the farm, it was stored in the back of our shed. For years that was the end of the story.
The David Bradley Windmill Story
Keith collects David Bradley items so this windmill fit right in. David Bradley windmills were sold like other David Bradley items through the Sears Catalog. The windmills were made by the Baker Manufacturing Company. The company was located in Evansville, WI. They began as the A.S. Baker Co. making rotary steam engines. They soon added wooden windmills. The company history states, “By March 12, 1879, the company recovered and was incorporated as “The Baker Manufacturing Company”.
I thought it interesting to note, that they created a triangle-drive rotary windmill patented by Allen Baker. In 1893 the Baker Mfg. Co. was at the Columbian Exposition. They were awarded gold medals for their windmills. John S. Baker, son of the founder in the 1920’s began producing self-lubricating back-geared steel mill windmills. They came on six-and-one-half and ten-foot fans. They were built until 1936. Recently Baker began offering these items again.
The Windmill Gets Fixed!
One year at the Historic Farm Days tractor show in Penfield, Illinois we spied Paul’s Windmill & Crane Service a business out of Foosland, Illinois! The owner Paul Behrends is experienced in fixing windmills. He agreed to fix our David Bradley windmill. We found out that our little beauty needed a lot of work! Paul is a very busy guy. Thus, it took a little over a year for the windmill to be completed.
This past September Paul called and said he was ready to deliver and install the windmill. First he brought his windmill rig out and left it. We had to decide where to place the windmill. Our first choice was ruled out because a well had been near and Paul said that wasn’t a good idea. We chose out back near what we think is a David Bradley grain bin.
When Paul came a few days later, they used 20 bags of concrete that Keith had picked up from the Pawnee Lumber Yard! They then set the tower using the crane to put it in place! After the tower and windmill were in place. Paul and his helper, a friend that formerly worked on TALL towers set the windmill. (We were also impressed that his friend’s family had helped place the windmill in Elk Horn Iowa!)
Keith and I literally held our breath as Paul stood on top of the platform adjusting the windmill for quite sometime. It took a day, but soon our David Bradley windmill was up and running.
We are excited to see the windmill we found so many years ago up and finished. A little history on the farm David Bradley style!