Video of Gedser Mill in Operation

By Paul Gipe

As interest in the Smith-Putnam project heated up, a colleague directed me to a video of the famous mill at Gedser in Denmark. It was at Gedser where the modern wind industry began.

Johannes Juul’s 24-meter diameter mill was installed at Gedser in 1956 for the regional utility, SEAS. This was a full 15 years after the installation of the Smith-Putnam turbine in Vermont. Unlike the Smith-Putnam machine, the Gedser mill was put into commercial operation and operated from 1961 through 1966, generating an average of 280,000 kWh per year for an annual specific yield of 610 kWh/m2/yr. It was the most successful of the wind turbines developed during the post war period.

In 2010 Kristian Hvidfelt Nielsen posted a rare one-minute long video of the Gedser mill in operation. Nielsen is the director of the Centre for Science Studies at Aarhus Universitet in Denmark.

At the time Nielsen published a journal article comparing the technological development of the Gedser mill and the Smith-Putnam wind turbine. You can request a copy of his article Technological Trajectories in the Making: Two Case Studies from the Contemporary History of Wind Power from him through the John Wiley & Sons web site. Nielsen’s paper traces the origins of two technological trajectories in the contemporary history of wind power technology: the American Smith-Putnam Wind Turbine and the Danish Gedser Wind Turbine.

Video of Gedser Mill in Operation