Model of a Windmill
German, late 18th century
Wood, iron, fibres
H 110 cm, D 70 cm

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The structure and didactic concept of this wind mill, designed to provide a complete view, proves that it served as a teaching aid. Models like this were used to teach simple physical connections and the foundations of mechanical engineering, for example how gears work, as well as the complex interplay of all components required to operate a mechanical mill economically and profitably. As the famous and well documented model collection at Göttingen shows, such models were used in the eighteenth century, among other things, for the instruction of functionaries in the higher civil service, who were to receive as comprehensive an education as possible. Smallish historical repairs and traces of use prove that the models’ function was valued and that it was used over a considerable period of time. It can be concluded from the design and manufacture that it was created in the last third of the eighteenth century in a German-speaking area. Several comparable models have been preserved at the Göttingen model collection, the natural science collection of the Kunst- und Naturalienkammer der Frankeschen Stiftungen zu Halle or at the Historische Museum in Hanover.
The unique collection of the Modellkammer at the Maximilianmuseum Augsburg comprises a wind mill as well as several mechanical and hydraulic models from the eighteenth century, which resemble the mill presented here in terms of their conception and construction. This model is of museum quality and was certainly also part of a display of models or teaching collection. The fact that it is still in good condition, is a rare and fortunate circumstance – during the late nineteenth century most of the teaching and model collections were dissolved and many models destroyed. This wind mill model is not only convincing because of its didactic qualities and its extraordinarily good and functional condition: form, size and construction gives it an aesthetic individuality and harmonious presence in the space quite beyond its mere functionality.

Published in: Raum für Objekte - Ariane Laue Kunsthandel, Kat. V - Nr. 5, München 2017