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Deutsches Technikmuseum - August

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Exhibit of the Month August 2011

Photo:

Rusty metal skeleton - with influence on our future © C. Kirchner/SDTB

Profiled Metal Sheets for Rotor Blades, around 1950/60

Is it an archaeological find, a tool, or the rusty skeleton of a technical artefact?

This object was found in a workshop in Westphalia and tells the story of a pioneer whose inventions never gained greater importance. Wolfgang Wienpahl (1940 – 2006) began developing wind turbines in the 1950s, which he tested in the garden of his parents’ home.

The object of the month is a set of profiled metal sheets—and thus actually a kind of skeleton. If the plates are held at a predetermined distance behind each other, the form of a rotor blade appears. The plates were probably used to assist in the production of rotor blades.

A very special success story

Wienpahl failed to bring his invention to the market. After his death, an abandoned workshop was all that remained. Yet at the same time, the object tells a success story: what began with experiments with wood and steel, led to the development of modern wind turbines, which provide us with energy today. Hobbyists like Wolfgang Wienpahl have made a decisive contribution to these innovations—with enthusiasm and perseverance.

Thus, the object of the month, a set of rusty metal sheets, is comparable to a key ring for energy of the future. And it is a pointer to the exhibition WIND FORCES, which relates stories of wind and its energy beginning 26. October 2011 in the Deutsches Technikmuseum.