The world’s first wind turbine, which was erected in Marykirk, has been featured in a new book about Victorian inventions.
Caroline Rochford (30), a genealogist from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, has published the book, ‘Great Victorian Inventions: Novel Contrivances & Industrial Revolutions’.
In 2012 she came across a collection of rare Victorian magazines which showcased the latest technological breakthroughs of the day and began to compile them.
She said: “The burning of fossil fuels was being carried out at a record rate during the Industrial Revolution. “However, some Victorian engineers began to question the future of an economy based on this non-renewable energy resource, which they knew would eventually run out.
“In 1887 an electrical engineer named Professor James Blythe (1839 - 1906) began designing the world’s first wind turbine.
“By the 1890s his pioneering windmill, which he’d erected over his holiday cottage in Marykirk, was finally complete. His cottage was in the middle of the Scottish plains, where the wildest winds blew, and he was able to generate enough energy not only to power the new electric lights in his home, but also to illuminate the entire high street of Marykirk.
“His neighbours were provincial folk who believed electricity to be the work of the devil, and they refused the professor’s kind offer to supply them with free power.
“Over at Montrose, the governors of the local lunatic asylum had heard about this invention, and called upon him to erect a similar turbine above their hospital.
“Despite this revolutionary development, the first wind turbine to generate electricity for public consumption wasn’t installed until 1951, more than six decades after the conception of Professor Blythe’s original wind machine.”