World's first windmill

Genius Hour Period 5

Where? Who?

The world's first windmill was invented in ancient Persia around 500 AD by Piruz Nahavandi.

Why did they make the windmill?

Before he became a slave, Piruz used to design and build windmills. Piruz brought a complaint to Umar (the leader of Persia at the time) that the taxes his master was putting on him were too high, Umar then reported that a windmill be built in thanks for lowering Nahavandi's taxes. He replied with, "By God, I will build this (wind)mill of which the world will talk.

What purpose did the windmill serve?

The windmill basically only did three main things, but these things we very rare for machinery to be able to do.


  1. It ground grain.
This was a major step in the agricultural revolution, this windmill provided ideas for all the machines that we have in traditional farming now.


2. It pumped water.

This was very important because women no longer had to collect the water out of a well manually, they had the windmill pump the water for them and then they collected it and took it back to their village, only a short walk away.


3. Helped regulate temperatures

The Persians were really smart, they were actually some of the first people to come up with the idea of fans. The Persians used the windmill as another resource other than power. The wind would go off the windmill and double as a cooling system, the windmill also worked as a fan.

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How the windmill functioned

The windmill was usually located on a higher spot, typically on top of a building, where the wind was stronger. The walls on two sides were necessary to the windmill so that the wind could only turn the windmill one direction. A con about the windmill is that it didn't work going both clockwise and counter clockwise, it only worked going counter clockwise, so they put the wall up on two side to avoid it going the wrong direction.

How efficient was it?

Since windmills of this type depend on drag to reach their maximum efficiency, and the Persian panemone windmill didn't have drag, the windmill actually wasn't all that efficient, but it got the job done.

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