Postage Stamps of Windmills

Not unsurprisingly, this is a big topic. For more information about the depiction of windmills on postage stamps, contact the Windmill Study Unit of the American Topical Association. The study unit publishes a newsletter, Windmill Whispers, available for $12.

An article titled American Windmills on Postage Stamps by Larry Morin appeared in Windmillers’ Gazette, XV, No.3 (summer 1996).

Australia Solar & Wind Stamps

Wind Energy Stamp from Canada

This 2005 stamp depicts a row of Vestas turbines most likely near Pincher Creek, Alberta. The image is a montage of the wind turbines with Canada’s maple leaf flag added. Pincher Creek is in southwestern Alberta just east of the front range of the Rocky Mountains.

Stamps of Windmills in Denmark


This stamp depicts a Danish tower mill with stage or platform. The stage is used by the miller to furl the sails and orient the rotor into the wind. Note the fantail on the cap behind the main rotor. Fantails were 19th century additions to windmills to provide self-orientation. Some early Danish wind turbines such as Windmatic and those built by Riisager used fantails, the direct technological descendents of the fantails used on traditional windmills. This windmill is somewhat unusual in that it has retained its steering or yaw poles even though it was fitted with a fantail.

It appears that this windmill is standing upon a “kame” or low hill left by the glaciers that created Denmark. Just as their forebears used kames to elevate the windmill above the surrounding landscape, modern wind turbines have been installed on kames in today’s Denmark.

The Dannebrog or Danish flag is fluttering in the wind at the lower left of the stamp. The Dannebrog or whipples (long pennant like flags with the Danish cross) are a common sight on the Danish landscape.

This mill is famous in Danish history (well maybe in German history too) because it was the site of a major defeat of Danish forces by the Prussian (Tysk) armies under Bismarck. I believe Denmark lost most of Schlesvig in the peace treaty that followed their defeat. Thus the mill is symbolic of great territorial loss to Danes.


One of a series of commemorative windmill stamps issued in Denmark in 2007.

The windmill at Askov in Jutland was developed by Poul la Cour, the Danish Edison. It generated DC for use at the folkehøskole and also was used to produce hydrogen gas for storage.

The Askov windmill is historically significant in Denmark in part because of the work by Poul la Cour, its role in the Danish folk revival movement, and its role in Danish afinity for wind energy.

Poul la Cour not only developed wind turbines for generating electricity, he was also a leader in telephony. After a bitter patent dispute with Alexander Graham Bell, la Cour offered all his patents in the public domain for the benefit of all Danes. Even into the 1980s Danish wind turbine companies refused to patent their work as a result of la Cour’s cultural influence.

More on the Askov turbine and on the history of Danish wind turbine development can be found in Wind Energy Comes of Age.


One of a series of commemorative windmill stamps issued in Denmark in 2007.

The windmill at Gedser south of Copenhagen on the island of Sealand was developed by Johannes Juul in 1957. The Gedser mill is the technological model for all subsequent Danish wind turbines. The Gedser mill was in regular service until 1967.

The 24 meter diameter wind turbine used pitchable blade tips, an upwind rotor, mechanical yaw, and a 200 kW induction generator–all elements of modern Danish wind turbines of the 1970s and 1980s.

In the 1970s the US DOE paid to bring the turbine back into service as part of its research into wind energy.

In the 1990s the nacelle was replaced with a then modern Micon turbine of the same size class.

More on the Gedser turbine and on the history of Danish wind turbine development can be found in Wind Energy Comes of Age.


One of a series of commemorative windmill stamps issued in Denmark.

The modern turbine in the foreground is a Vestas at Bogø Denmark. The nacelle and the graceful nosecone are distinctive of Vestas turbines of the period.

Bogø was the site of one of Denmark’s first modern wind turbines in the 1950s.

More on the history of Danish wind turbine development can be found in Wind Energy Comes of Age.

Stamps of Windmills and Wind Turbines in France

Stamp Celebrating Darrieus’ Wind Turbine in France

French postage stamp from 1988 celebrating a Φ-configuration Darrieus wind turbine in the French Antarctic. The stamp is significant not only for the wind turbine used at the Antarctic base but also because this form of Vertical-Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) bears the name of Georges Jean Marie Darrieus, a famous French engineer.

While Darrieus is famous worldwide for this particular VAWT design, he never built one. Rather, he built a series of downwind conventional Horizontal-Axis Wind Turbine rotors in the late 1920s. Darrieus was a prolific inventor and his work ranged from ballistics to turbo-machinery.

This Darrieus uses a guyed, three-blade rotor, probably developed by Centre d’Etude Nucléaire de Grenoble in the early 1980s.

Stamp of Daudet’s Windmill at Fontvieille

Le Moulin d’Alphonse Daudet is as important to the French as the windmills of Cervantes’ Don Quixote are to the Spanish. Daudet published Les Lettres de Mon Moulin or Letters from My Mill in 1870. The book, a series of fictional vignettes set in Daudet’s native Provence, didn’t immediately win Parisian attention, leading Daudet to buy some of the first impression as souvenirs because sales were so slow. But eventually the stories won French hearts, and they have now become an essential part of French cultural heritage. The windmill at Fontvieille in the Bouches-du-Rhone departement northeast of Arles was moved to the site by friends of Daudet’s after his death. The tower windmill is typical of those found throughout southern France. Unlike windmills in northern Europe, those of southern France use a sharply peaked conical cap and blades with sails of equal dimensions on either side of the stock or blade spar.

Stamp of Windmill in the Vendée Region of France

The tower mill in the background has the conical cap typical of most tower mills in central and southern France. Note that the stocks or blade spars appear non-operable without the familiar lattice work necessary for supporting cloth sails. This appearance may be misleading, as many windmills in the Vendée region adopted the folding mechanical sails designed by Berton in 1845. Besides their traditional commercial function, windmills in the Vendée played an important role in the French Revolution. The Vendée is a region of lowlands near the Atlantic coast between the mouth of the Loire and La Rochelle. During the late 18th century the region was extremely isolated and transportation was limited to plying the waterways. (The Vendée is still sometimes called the Venice of France.) It is also a conservative and strongly Catholic region. During the Revolution, the Vendée sided with the Royalists and led a rebellion against the sans culottes. Windmills were used to signal the arrival of the Republicans so the Chouans, or counter-revolutionaries could escape. In reprisal, the Republicans often destroyed the windmills–and their millers.

Windmill Stamp from Germany

Siege of Neuss

The stamp proclaims the 500 year celebration of the siege of Neuss in 1474. The conical cap of the tower windmill resembles that of windmills found in the Midi of southern France and is interesting for its use on a stamp issued by the Federal Republic of Germany. Note too that the stock or main spar of each blade splits the lattice work into two equal parts. This is also common among windmills of southern Europe and less so those of northern Europe. There are tents of the besiegers in the foreground and men with bows and arrows in the middle ground. Among the tents in the foreground is a flag with the double headed German eagle. The stamp was issued in 1975.

Stamp of a Windmill in Hungary


This postage stamp from Hungary (Magyar) depicts a tower mill along northern European lines probably as a result of German, hence Austrian influence when Hungary was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Like late windmills in northern Europe, the sails show marked twist and the stock or main spar is toward the leading edge. The millstones are on the second floor. The International Molinological Society (TIMS) held one of its international symposiums in Budapest 9-16 Ausgust, 1997. These symposium often include field trips to windmills such as this.

Stamp of Windmills in the Netherlands

Smock windmills on the polder landscape of the Netherlands. By the context, these are most likely polder mills for draining the surrounding polder. Sheep or cattle are grazing on land reclaimed from the sea. The stark simplicity of the stamp’s design accurately depicts the landscape with the strong horizontal lines and the gray sky that is typical of the Netherlands.

Stamp of Windmills in the Netherlands Antilles

This postage stamp depicts two multiblade farm windmills pumping water at what looks like a sugar cane refinery. There are thousands of farm or “Chicago” windmills in use throughout the Netherlands Antilles. There are 3,000 farm windmills still in use on Curaçao alone.

Stamp of Windmills in India

Windpump in India

50 rupee stamp of Indian windpump.This is a stylized version of the American or “Chicago” type of multiblade farm windmill. Indian development organizations have designed several indigenous versions for use on the Indian subcontinent.

New Zealand Renewable Energy Stamps

New Zealand Post 2006 Renewable Energy Stamps

Wind Farm at Tararua, Palmerston North
Hydro, Roxburgh Dam
Biogas or Methane Digester at Waikato
Geothermal Generation at Wairakei

Stamps of Windmills in the USA

2011 Kansas USA Windmill Stamp

The 2011 Kansas windmill stamp commemorates statehood with one of the most recognizable symbols of the prairie–the American farm windmill. Modern wind turbines are in the background.

The farm windmill, also knows as the “American” windmill or “Chicago mill”, made settlement on the semi-arid Great Plains possible. Historian Walter Prescott Webb described the prairies as the land where the cows chop the wood and the wind pumps the water. For what this means, see my book Wind Energy Comes of Age.

Kansas also has seen a substantial increase in the number of commercial wind farms since the turn of the 21st century.

Stamp of Farm Windmill in Texas

One of a series of five windmill stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. The stamp depicts an American farm windmill and a water storage tank. This type of wind pump is also known as a “Chicago mill” for the region of the U.S. where hundreds of thousands were built during the 19th century.

Stamp of Post Mill in Virginia

One of a series of five windmill stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. The stamp depicts a post mill built by English settlers in Virginia. The mill is probably the mill at Williamsburg, Virginia which was reconstructed in the 1970s.

Stamp of Stage Windmill in Illinois

One of a series of five windmill stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.

Stamp of Smock Windmill in Massachusetts

One of a series of five windmill stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.

Stamp of Tower Mill in Rhode Island

One of a series of five windmill stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service sometime in the 1970s or 1980s. Note the external yaw wheel for pointing the turbine into the wind. The miller would use an endless chain or rope to turn the wheel which would then orient the cap of the windmill in the direction desired. Also note the the position of the stock or blade spar relative to the lattice work of the blade or sail. The blade is asymmetrical about the stock. Compare this with the blades on the Illinois, Massachusetts, and Virginia stamps.