The Kregel Windmill Company operated as a commercial enterprise in the same building in Nebraska City, Nebraska from 1903 to 1991. The firm had been established in Nebraska City on August 19, 1879 as a general manufacturer of goods for the agricultural trade. Soon it began producing windmills developed by George F. Kregel. The company continued to produce factory-made water pumping windmills until their manufacture ended due to the rationing of raw materials during World War II.From its earliest years, the Kregel firm had also engaged in the installation of windmills and water supply equipment and in windmill and well maintenance and repair.
On the plains and prairies of North America, turbine-type wind machines combined with drilled wells allowed humans for the first time to live in semiarid areas which lacked reliable sources of surface water. George F. Kregel produced windmills during the period of settlement in Nebraska, and his products helped to make occupation of the land possible.
The major product manufactured by the company for approximately 60 years illustrates how Americans have used and continue to use the renewable power of the wind to enhance the environmental quality of human life. During the 20th century, the water well maintenance and pump repairs business came to dominate the Kregel’s business. The company remained an active commercial entity in Nebraska City until the death of George Kregel’s son, Arthur in 1991.
Even though they have not been mass produced since the early 1940s, Kregel Windmill Company “Eli” brand windmills are still found in service pumping life-giving water for both humans and livestock. They demonstrate clearly how wind power without polluting the environment can serve the needs of humans now and in the future to improve their lives.
Source: Long-Range Interpretive Plan, Kregel Windmill Museum Company, by T. Lindsay Baker and John Bowditch, July 16, 1994.
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