Dutch Windmills Holland about 1892

DUTCH WINDMILLS, HOLLAND — Two characteristic features of Holland constantly present themselves, canals and windmills. The latter really seem innumerable. The country often appears to be alive with these revolving monsters, which, when in motion look like giants turning hand-springs on the horizon, and when at rest, resemble light-houses above the sea. But “rest” with them is rare! They are employed for almost every kind of manufacture. They grind corn, they saw wood, they cut tobacco into snuff, they pulverize rocks, and (most important of all), they pump out from the marshes into the canals the water which would otherwise submerge the entire land. The largest ones will, it is claimed, in a fair wind, lift 10,000 gallons of water per minute to the height of four feet! One can but admire the wisdom of the persevering Hollanders, who have thus yoked the inconstant wind and forced it not alone to work for them, but also to contend with their great enemy, Water! It is a realization of the rough but wholesome words of Emerson, when he says: “Borrow the strength of the elements. Hitch your wagon to a star, and sees the chores done by the Gods themselves.” A Hollander’s wealth is often estimated, not by his bonds or mortgages, but by his windmills. “How rich is such a man?” you may ask. “Oh, he is worth ten or twelve windmills.” is the reply! (from John L. Stoddard, Glimpses of the world; a portfolio of photographs of the marvelous works of God and man – 1892)

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