hebco wind generator newbie quetion

3 Posts
Sep 22, 2009 06:31 pm
hebco wind generator newbie quetion

I have a hebco wind  generator that I'm told ran an airstrip until a few years back.I cant find any info on the unit about what size it is etc.the only markings are 'hebco ind elkhart IN 'and 'pattent applied for'.It weighs about 200lbs or more and turns easily by hand.Does anyone know where I can get info on it and what uses it might have.Thanks for any help.
220 Posts
Sep 23, 2009 03:00 am
Re: hebco wind generator newbie quetion

 hi denis,

 sounds like you have a page right out of history there with that hebco machine. bucklen (founder of hebco) has the credit of being the (disputed) first to generate electricity with the wind.

 hebco started production in 1921 and won a government contract to supply air mail runways (usually just a cleared grass field leased from a local farmer) with providing power for running the locating beacons where no power grid was available..it's interesting to note that these early wind/battery powered beacons were not to guide the pilot to a landing at the airfield at night but used as a navaid/waypoint to confirm the plotted way to the intended night operations airport.

 some time back, while looking at wincharger turbines i found some interesting pages about these early machines but darned if we can find them again.

 from what i can find-this would be a brushed dc generator and would have sat atop a four legged tower about 35' high and have had a two bladed wooden propeller about 15' diameter. i think these were 32 volt machines and would bet it could see a good kw or two!

 when you say 200 plus pounds it sounds like you have the blade hub and tail as well? also "turns easily by hand" makes me think of powered field coils? (unlikely) or maybe we have lost the magnetic field. or depends on what easy means. we need more investigation there..how many wires is a start.

denis you have a super cool find there..any plans?

how it may have looked.

kind regards, dave
3 Posts
Sep 23, 2009 06:38 am
Re: hebco wind generator newbie quetion

Thanks Dave.Not really sure what to do with it.The guy who gave it to me says it was completely rebuilt recently and is in good working order.There is very little info out there except a brief history of hebco.I have the tail and hub but no propellers.I know nothing about power generation or how to go about setting this up to generate power so am trying to research and learn.I may end up selling it if there is a market for something like this.Thanks again for your reply
351 Posts
Sep 23, 2009 12:43 pm
Re: hebco wind generator newbie quetion

You have a museum piece. You should restore it, or sell it to someone that will. I would hate to see it reduced to just a generator, hooked to a Chinese diesel.

Dave's history is a pretty good one.  The one clarification is that Hebco was definitely not the first to generate from wind power.  Hebco (or the Herbert E Bucklen Corp./ Bucklen himself) is credited as being the first to use an airplane type propeller, instead of the windmill type multiblades (with huge step up gearing), for wind generation. So, it would be the first modern wind turbine versus earlier windmills.

I would try contacting the Elkhart Historical Society and the Elkhart County Museum.  They should have old newspaper clippings, advertising flyers,etc.  They may have some old-timer that has more knowledge.  The Bucklens are an old family in the area.  Your interest is in HEB II.  His father made a fortune in “patent medicine”.

If you know which airfield that unit came from, searching the local museum and newspaper files might give you more info.

I am not sure what became of HEBCO.  They either folded or got sold off in the early 30’s.  The depression, completion from Jacobs, and the Rural Electrification Act probably did them in.  HEB II founded the Durakool Company (Makers of switches and relays) in 1935.

You might try contacting Wind Turbine Industries.
They are the supporters of the old Jacobs units.  They may have some knowledge of the HEBCO units. They would also be a good candidate to supply a prop for your machine.

3 Posts
Sep 23, 2009 04:29 pm
Re: hebco wind generator newbie quetion

Wow thanks for all the info in your reply.Sounds like I have my work cut out for me.
220 Posts
Sep 25, 2009 01:09 am
Re: hebco wind generator newbie quetion

looks like the fate of perhaps a very important piece of americana is in your hands denis..no pressure here but agree with ken that it may belong in a museum collection some day. that day could even be 20 years from now after your done with it. the very best of luck there with whatever you decide.

also-ken, thanks for helping us to keep the facts straight on the first to generate power issue (we looked some more and now it's starting to lead to the uk as the location of first wind made electricity?) seems like a very foggy issue with claims from all over?

we will never know when/if this page might pop up in someone elses searches on the subject. in that respect each post is writing a bit of history in itself..and if something wrong is repeated enough times it blurs the real history and distorts the facts..in some cases it can even be dangerous!

cheers, dave
12 Posts
Oct 9, 2009 01:45 am
Re: hebco wind generator newbie quetion

You should post up a few pictures of what you have in the gallery!!!
1 Posts
Nov 5, 2015 12:06 pm
Re: hebco wind generator newbie quetion

I also have a Hebco, mostly complete. Dennis...would like to communicate directly? andy59rose @ gmail.com.


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