Friday, April 9, 2010

Windpompe - What's in a Name?

Windmills? - What's In A Name?

Everyone I know has always called these creatures 'Windmills' in English but, that seems to be a misnomer because a 'mill' is something that grinds or pulverizes.

The Afrikaans word 'windpomp' seems more accurate - 'wind pump' - because that's what they do, they pump water from the ground.

Does anyone know the correct English name for these machines? Windpump?

Anyway, I love photographing them and most of these images were captured from a moving car in Namibia and South Africa - hence the sometimes fuzzy foregrounds.



  1. from wikipedia -
    A windpump is a windmill used for pumping water, either as a source of fresh water from wells, or for draining low-lying areas of land.

    I would probably call them a windmill but growing up around farmland but not on a farm, I have seen many of them and learned that they were pumps.

    Does the one have flowers growing near it? I wasn't sure if that was a bed of flowers.

  2. I, too, call them 'Windmills' but you're right, they should be called 'Wind Pumps' ... your photographs, as always, are wonderful.

    (P.S. Hope that you had a great Easter out in the sticks !)

  3. According to google, they are known as "wind powered water pump", bit of a gobfull, I prefer "Windpompe".

  4. Windmill is the only English name I know but you are right it does not really make sense. They are certainly a lot more attractive that the wind turbines which are popping up all over France for electricity. Diane

  5. Thanks Friends - I seem to recall a song about the 'Windmills Of My Mind' - can't remember if they were pumping water or grinding away at something ... in my case they're probably generating a lot of hot air ... :)

  6. Like a circle in a spiral
    Like a wheel within a wheel
    Never ending or beginning
    On an ever-spinning reel
    As the images unwind
    Like the circles that you find
    In the windmills of your mind

  7. I know them as windmills also. Your comment made me go and look up the song "Windmills of Your Mind" as it has been so long since I've heard it!

  8. You might like to try this?

  9. I have tagged your blog in this little game.
    blog tag game
    Come out to play if you like.

  10. Great pictures to be taken from moving car. We always called them windmills, I don't know why. They produce energy from the wind, like the huge area in the desert in southern California, hundreds of windmills that produce energy for so many homes.

  11. I adore windpumps .... but can only capture them relatively far out of Jhb ... so I haven't done a great job yet ....
    Love your images ... that last one with the reddish flower carpet in the foreground is awesome!!!
    Gena @ Thinking Aloud