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

Mike Werst—Writen 7/24/16 (Updated 5/19/17)

Vane shape is one of the quickest and reliable ways to identify a vintage wind generator manufacturer.   In most cases however,  vane shape will not 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 guide is my attempt to provide aid in identifying pre-REA wind generators 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 and I reserve the right to make future changes.  The vane manuacturers are not listed in any particular order.  If there is an order, it is the most common manufacturer to the least common.  At some point, I will list them in alphabetical order.  In the meantime, good luck finding yours.  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, 26-5/8” w X 9” h. Very similar to the Parmak Whirlwind (see vane #20).

2.  This 2 piece Wincharger vane is the most common. Seen on 6V and 12V units and at least one 32V unit (model 65) 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 versions used on the 32V and 110V models. This tail shape continued to be used after WinPower acquired Parris Dunn in 1948. Seen with many different radio and hardware company names on tail.

18.  Earlier Parris Dunn, 6V and possibly 12V. Seen with many different radio and hardware company names on tail.

 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. Parmak, 6V model, “Whirlwind”, lower power, less expensive verison of #19 (Vulcan). Vane is very similar to the early Wincharger vane (#1). 26-1/4” w X 9” h. 3 bolt holes, 9-1/2” spacing.

21.  Early Jacobs Wind Electric, Minneapolis, MN vane. 36” X 36”

22.  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.

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

24.  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.

25.  Universal 32V and 110V models.

26.  Lejay

27.  6V Air-Flo Charger made by Pioneer Gen-E-Motor Corporation, Chicago, IL.

 Vane ID 04w2

28.  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.

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

30.  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 and the Miller Air-Lite (#39)

31.  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.

32.  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 1935 until they came up with their own shape (#24). Early models used windmill wheel and later transitioned to a airplane type propeller. A propeller driven water pumper was also available

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

34. Aermotor Company, Chicago, IL, Aermotor Electric, ca. 1920. 12’ windmill wheel, 32V and 110V DC models.

Vane ID 05w

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

36.  Nelson Electric and after 1942 Allied Electric Products Company, Spencer, IA. 1200 and 1600W, 32V models.

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

38. Wind-King, Model J, 1250W, 6 pole, low speed generator.

39. Miller Air-Lite Co., Newton, IA. In Jan, 1933, the company was sold and the name changed to Wind-Power Lite Co, predecessor to WinPower (Vane #28).

40. Perkins Corporation, Mishawaka, IN. 32V Perkins Aeroelectric, Perkins early wind generator that used a 14’ windmill wheel, 1000W Westinghouse generator.

41. Fritchle Wind Electric System mfg by Woodmanse Mfg. Co, Freeport, IL, ca. 1919. Windmill wheel driven generator, offered in 12-1/3’, 14’ and 16’ diameters, 48:1, 68:1 and 80:1 chain drive gearing respectively. ¾ hp motor designed by Oliver P. Fritchle.

Vane ID 06w

42. Wind Electric Company, Wyndmere, ND, ca. 1916. 42a-c represent variations in vane shapes from 1916-1927. The first machine developed by George Manikowske (Aerolite) utilized a windmill wheel to drive the generator, belt driven on the outside of the wheel. Company later became Aerodyne Company. The Type F direct drive model featured 2 counter rotating propellers, one attached to the rotor and one to the stator.


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