NEBRASKA CITY – The International Windmiller’s Trade Fair toured the Kregel Windmill Factory Museum at Nebraska City Thursday.
T. Lindsay Baker, an industrial historian and editor of the Windmiller’s Gazette, first heard about the factory when it was still in operation and traveled from Texas to interview Art Kregel, who was then operating a pump repair business.
Baker: “They’ve come here because the Kregel Windmill Factory in Nebraska City is the last preserved, intact historic windmill factory in the United States. There are buildings that house these factories, but this is the only one left in the country in which all of the contents are preserved as they were at the time.”
Helen Walter was among Australians on the tour. Her late husband got her interested in windmills and they started the Windmill Journal of Australia and New Zealand.
Walter: “This is lovely to do. We’ve come over specifically for the Windmillers Trade Fair this year. It’s been seven years since we’ve been here. It’s changed. To see the way they have set it all up is brilliant.”
Walter: “It is so unique. There is nothing like this in Australia at all. I believe there is nothing like this anywhere else in the U.S. It’s just amazing the work that has gone in to preserve it.”
The International Windmillers Trade Fair is holding events at the Kimmel Expo Building in Syracuse. The annual convention will conclude with a lecture presentation and banquet.
The factory was started by George Kregel and Louis Kregel had patents on a sectional windmill. The patent used an auto-brake that would prevent windmill damage during high winds and a pressure device to release the brake when useful wind speeds returned.
The windmill company was founded in 1879 and the last ELI was made in 1983. The museum says as many as 100 ELI windmills are still standing today.