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Samson Windmill

Samson Windmill

For thousands of years windmills were common all over the world . Even after their popularity waned in the 20th century with the arrival of the industrial revolution, they are still used globally for various purposes like grinding, cutting wood, moving water and making electricity.

This is a very special windmill that was used in in the West and Southwest with several being located in Texas. We do not have a number that were produced, but there appears to be quite a few. The wind mill fan is 20 feet in diameter and had a large double gear drive. This was a very large mill, but there were larger that were produced. This mill was used for pumping water especially deep wells or where large volumes of water were required. The company was established in the early 1900’s and was shut down after World War II.


History Ernest and Herbert Lanfair erected the huge 20-foot diameter Samson windmill at Old Lanfair in 1912. The windmill was operated there for many years. It was torn down by the OX Ranch in the early 1980s and replaced with a windmill that was easier to operate. John Farmer Collection


The picture to the top shows the windmill at the OX ranch


On 20 April 2012 OX Ranch owner Gary Overson gave the windmill to the MDHCA. It was then in

pieces and parts on the ground. John Terrill and Dennis Casebier brought it to Goffs. We've

wanted to obtain this wonderful artifact for many years.


Restoration At the 2012 Spring Encampment, Sharon Holmes and Don Walter stepped up to

tackle the job. Major tasks will include figuring out how to assemble all the pieces and parts

and how to straighten out some bent metal pieces. They moved all of the components from

the south end of the property to an area near the train depot where the plan was to erect the windmill.

The time period September, 16, 24 and October 2012 Don Walter continued to do more work on the Samson Windmill. After several visits by Don to bolt in the braces, the tower is now completed, although it is still lying on the ground. Now we can take measurements to determine the size of the concrete pad. Most of the windmills out in the East Mojave were Aero motors, so this Samson is somewhat unique.

We found a stamp mill expert Steve Storm that helped us understand the windmill construction and how to put it back together. We met him in November 2013 and he came from northern California to assist. We also had Don Walter, a volunteer to help on the project. During that time period we worked on finishing the assembly of the tower, disassembled the windmill motor and identified the missing and

broken parts. The largest missing item was one of two 25” bull gears. There were also several

other broken and missing parts. We managed to get the main hub on the motor shaft welded

to repair the part. The expert said that the mill could not be assembled without both of the

bull gears and we found out over a period of time that there were no bull gears anywhere.
Steve helped us when he could for over a year and three months. He had to quit for personal
health reasons in February 2015.

A windmill stand was discussed and Steve liked the idea of assembling the motor and vanes

of the mill on the ground. He told us what we needed to do it. We built the stand but had

problems installing the motor and vane mechanisms. We installed the motor and arms on the

stand in September 2015. In April 2019 we assembled the arms on the motor and then carefully install the vanes on the motor. In October of 2019 we installed a proper fence around the windmill motor display and that completed the artifact assembly, until we can find the

missing parts. The picture below shows the assembled motor and vanes on the stand:


The 20-foot diameter Samson windmill fan that stood over Old Lanfair in 1912. Don has now begun assembly of the fan supports. Photo by Leslie A. Ervin

The picture below shows the windmill manufacturer and component Id “20 Ft. Samson”, and the person that received the mill, “HD Lanfair, Lanfair, CA.

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