An absurd undertaking can be viewed as 'tilting at a windmill', but for practical purposes, windmills have been an efficient way of generating power since they first appeared in Persia in the 9th Century. Windmills have been used to pump water, mill grain, or as we shall soon see, to pump oil.
Somain is a commune in the Nord department in northern France. It is primarily known for its extensive mining industry. Its first mine, called the Renaissance mine, opened in 1839. Somain was also the home to a large windmill that was built in 1744. In 1901, the windmill was moved to its present location in Steenvoorde, a short distance south of Dunkirk. The mill was later restored (I've been unable to find a restoration date), and it is being used as an oil mill.
On 9 July, 1979, France issued a set of seven stamps in their ongoing Tourism series. To read the previous two parts, simply click on the relevant link. Part 1. Part 2 In this blog I'll take a close look at the 1,20 stamp, which depicts the Steenvorde windmill.. This stamp was designed and engraved by Eugène Lacaque.
Based on photos I've seen of the restored windmill, it seems to me that this design features a fairly rundown windmill, crying out for assistance. It is clearly evident the the sails (or blades) are in a pretty sad state of disrepair. However, there is the chance that this is simply how Lacaque chose to engrave the sails. I lean toward the former.
Until next time...