Pre-Rural Electrification Administration (REA) Wind Generator Tail Vane Identification Guide

Mike Werst--8/15/16


Vanes shape is one of the quickest and reliable ways to identify a vintage wind generator manufacturer.   Shape alone however will not necessarily tell you the model or performance parameters.   If you are fortunate enough to have a vane that still retains the original graphics, you have a significant advantage and may not need this guide.   On the other hand, vane graphics do not always indicate the manufacturer.   Wind generators were sold by many distributors and tail vanes were widely used for advertising. Radio brands and hardware store names were common themes for wind generator tails.  This article is an attempt to provide some guidelines for identifying the more common wind generators from the 1920’s thru the 1970’s using tail vane shape.  There are likely many vane shapes that I don't have listed below and my descriptions are based on what I know today.  I reserve the right to make future changes.  If you have information you would like to add or a vane not listed below, please contact me.  You can see examples of many of these tail vanes at under "Wind Charger Mike."

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Vane ID 01w


Tail vanes 1-13 were manufactured by the Wincharger Corporation, Sioux City, Iowa between 1935 and 1982.

1.  Early (ca 1936) Wincharger 6V, single piece

2.  This 2 piece Wincharger vane is the most common. Seen on 6V and 12V units from 1936-1982, approximately 23” w X 13” h.

3.  Single piece Wincharger 6V, commonly seen on model 38’s (1938).

4.  6V and 12V Wincharger Streamliner.

5.  1500W Wincharger, 32V and 110V models, 34”w X 67”h, 2 piece, round vane pipe, gear driven generators.

6.  32V Wincharger, after 1940, 750-1200W range, measured 25-1/4”w X 39”h, 2 piece vane, round vane pipe and all used gear boxes, attaches to 1-1/4” sch 40 steel pipe.

7.  500W and 600W Winchargers. 600W version was galvanized, both were direct drive, 32V with an internal brake at the rear of the generator, 15-1/2”w X 27”h, 2 piece and attaches to 1” sch 40 steel pipe.

8.  Wincharger model 85 Streamliner. Approx 500W peak. About 1941, Wincharger started listing the average kWhr/mo as the model numbers.

9.  This 2 piece Wincharger vane was used on units sold by Sears. The Sears name for this 32V model was PowerMaster. It was a direct drive, 32V and 500W. 6V models with this vane had either Silvertone or Silvertone Heavy Duty on the top, Wincharger on the bottom.

10.  Montgomery Ward unit made by Wincharger called PowerLite. It was direct drive, 32V, 300W and 500W models. Other sizes may have been available.

Vane ID 02w

11.  32V Wincharger with gearbox,1000W or less. Galvanized, 2 piece and measures 34”w X 22-1/2”h.

12.  32V Wincharger sold by Montomery Ward under the name “PowerLite Air Charger” This model used a long "variable pitch starter governor" that was flyweight actuated.  500W and 1000W were available. ca 1942.

13.  This is the large Wincharger Streamliner, 32V and 110V versions. Measures 94”w X 42”h. The 110V versions were galvanized. 32V version was yellow and included the rare Model 260.

14.  Believed to be Breez-Electric Corporation, Chicago, IL, ca 1937. Literature claimed "largest, most powerful 6 volt windcharger built!"  Seen with “Airline (Montgomery Ward) Super-Power” graphics, 26”w X 12”h.  Breez-Electric also manufactured 32 volt wind-driven farm lighting plants.

15.  Early Parris Dunn called the “Sentinel Gyromatic”, 24-3/4w X 11-1/2”h.

16.  Early Parris Dunn, 38”w X 12”h. Seen with “GyroMatic,” “Silvertone,” “Dun-Charger,” Western Auto Truetone” graphics. Likely many others.

17.  Later Parris Dunn tear-drop tail. Seen on 6V and 12V models. Scaled up version used on the 32V and 110V models. This tail shape continued to be used after WinPower acquired Parris Dunn in the 1948.

18.  Earlier Parris Dunn, 6V and possibly 12V. Seen with many different radio brand names.

Vane ID 03w

19.  Parmak, Parker McCrory Mfg. Co, ca 1936, Kansas City MO. 6V wind electric plant known as the “Vulcan.” Parmak was primarily a radio manufacturer.   Today they produce electric fence equipment.

20.  Early Jacobs Wind Electric, Minneapolis, MN vane.

21.  Oval Jacobs tail used on 1800W and 2500W units, ca 1937. Also used on the 1500W Jacobs Twin, 44-3/4”w X 29-3/4”h, galvanized.

22.  Common Jacobs “Whale Tail” seen on early and late models, galvanized. Also used after name changed to Jacobs Wind Energy Corporation.

23.  Universal Battery Company, Chicago, IL. This vane was used on the 6V models, “Universal Aeroelectric.” Sears also sold these with their radio brand label, “Silvertone Super Air Charger.” This model was unique in that it incorporated a power limiting governor.

24.  Universal 32V and 110V models.

25.  Lejay

26.  6V Air-Flo Charger made by Pioneer Gen-E-Motor Corporation, Chicago, IL.

27.  Wind Power Light Company or WinPower. Newton, Iowa. A down wind generator with props (3) behind the generator. Several sizes were made, 32V and 110V. 1250-2500W. Technically, this one doesn’t have a tail vane but it still needs to be identified. The “power ring” (shroud) is very distinctive, used to deflect the air to the effective area of the props.

Vane ID 04w

28.  United Motor Service Company (Delco) Hi-Power, ca. 1938, Detroit, MI. 32V, 1000, 1250 and 1500W. Overall length of the vane is 70.”

29.  Air Electric Machine Co, Jewel, IA, moved to Lohrville, IA in 1937. Several models used this vane, the early 4 wood blade with a pilot vane type governor, and the later 2 blade, paddle governor versions. 32V and 110V, up to 5000W. The vane is very similar to Baker Monitor water pumping windmill tail vane.

30.  Air Electric Streamliner. This distinctive 3D vane encloses the generator, transitioning from round to rectangular at the rear. Cooling air flowed through the generator and out the back of the vane.  This vane could be the very first wind generator nacelle.

31.  HEBCO (Herbert E. Bucklen Corporation), Elkhart, IN, ca. 1926. 32 and 110V models rated at 60 to 200 kWhrs/mo. Later used by Universal after they acquired HEBCO in the mid 30’s until they came up with their own shape (#24).

32.  Ruralite Engineering Company, Sioux City, IA, ca 1938.

33.  Perkins Corporation, South Bend, IN. 32V Perkins Aeroelectric, 50-60 kWhr/mo, one of first to use a wood prop in place of water pumper wheel, ca 1925.

34.  Allied Electric Products Company, Spencer, IA. 1200 and 1600W, 32V models.

35.  Wind-King Electric Manufacturing Company, Merrill, IA. Several 32Vmodels, 850W to 2200W.