I just talked with the owner of Air Electric, the company that made the 4.5 foot and 8 foot galvanized steel garden windmills.
The first thing to know is there are no more Replacement Wheels available for the 8 foot windmill. The last wheel has been sold and there will be no more made in the foreseeable future.
There are no more replacement platforms or tail fins available for the 8 foot windmills.
There still are some replacement mast heads available and pivots and bearings for the wheel available.
There are some replacement tower parts available – leg sections and cross braces.
So for the 8 foot model the only replacement parts are pivots, mast heads and bearings.
Here is an update on replacement parts for the 4.5 foot windmill. There are no more wheel available for the 4.5 foot model plus there are no more tail fin/pivots available. It no longer is possible to replace parts for the 4.5 foot windmill top.
There are a few 4.5 foot mast heads available and also there are a few 4.5 foot bearings available. Plus there are some very limited tower parts available.
There is an interesting opportunity available – the equipment used to manufacturer the 4.5 foot and 8 foot galvanized steel windmills is available for sale. If there is anyone interested in manufacturing garden windmills and the replacement parts for these windmills it is possible to purchase the equipment and be trained in how to make the windmills. What would be needed is experience in steel manufacturing, a facility to house the equipment and a willingness to learn how to make these.
There remains an interest in people wanting to purchase quality Made in the USA garden windmills, there is an established dealer base that was involved with selling these and there are thousands of existing customers who have older windmills who are or will be looking for replacement parts.
The only galvanized steel windmills now available are all made in China and the quality is in general very poor.
So if you are a manufacturer or know a manufacturer that might be interested in adding galvanized garden windmills to their existing product line it would be something to consider.
I have been getting phone calls from customers saying they cannot order on line – that the check out is not working and they want to order over the phone. I was puzzled my main sales site has been working for several years. To take the order over the phone I go to my main eCommerce site, choose the product, add their billing and shipping information and complete the order. Every thing seemed to be working just fine. It was just not making any sense to me why an increasing number of people where having problems with checking out.
Because of the product lines I sell I always get a few customers that are not familiar with computers and how to order items on line. A lot of my customers are geezers like me. Normally I can walk customers through the shopping cart and check out over the phone or direct them to the Frequently Asked Questions menu where there are complete instructions with screen shots of how the check out process words. Almost every item has a link in the description to click on if they are having problems understanding the steps involved in placing an order on line. This link opens the instructions on how to check out.
The recent customers not only were have difficulties checking out they were have difficulties getting to the section that offers a lot of help in how the check out works. This was becoming even more puzzling. I change and update the “How to Check out” section quite often and I know it works. I test my eCommerce site with various browsers and with both PCs and Apples.
Finally I learned to ask the most important question —- How are your getting to the yardgardenwindmill site?? The answer is they are getting to the site with their smart phone or their tablet – they are attempting to use Android Phones and Tables; iPhones and iPads and even Kindle and Nook devices. One customer well into his 80s was a huge help to me in understanding what was going on and why people were running into difficulties in attempting to place orders. He and his wife had struggled for years attempting to learn how to use their computer. They recently purchased an iPad and were using it with a lot more success than they had even had with their computer. Another elderly couple gave me more information – they were attempting to order with their Android based smart phone, they too had struggled with attempting to use a computer and had gone to using their phone for internet shopping. A elderly lady clued me in even more – she was using a Kindle these days for everything on the internet and had not turned on her computer for months she too had a lot of difficulties in learning how to use her computer.
It had never occurred to me that seniors were attempting to use smart phones and tables to access the Internet. I have had an iPhone for several years and while it is very useful I do not use it very often for online orders other than Kindle books. When I want to order something online I use one of my computers, when I am away from my office I almost always have a laptop with me.
Here is what I have learned – a lot of people including people who are well into their 60s, 70s and 80s are increasingly using smart phones and tablets on the Internet. In a number of cases these are people who have struggled with attempting to learn to use a computer on line. Curious I went to my eCommerce site with my iPhone and attempted to place an order. It was really difficult to choose an item and the options and when I attempted to go to the screen where I enter my shipping and billing information my shopping cart failed. I do not have any type of tablet so the only way I can test these is go into the city and go to stores that have these mobile devices set up so customers can “play” with them.
My eCommerce site is done on a templated shopping cart system. There is nothing I can do to enhance it for mobile access. I can do only very basic things like add items and pages. For several years this eCommerce solution has very well, but it is designed for computers – it is not at all Mobile friendly and in fact does not work at all with at least my iPhone. The most frustrating thing is there is nothing I can do with this type of shopping cart to make the Mobile experience better or even work.
While there is no way to fix my main eCommerce site to make it work with mobile devices I have found a solution. There have been some very good advancements with eCommerce solutions using WordPress Plugins. I already have a complex eCommerce site running on WordPress. I use iThemes Builder as my theme for almost every WordPress site I do. iThemes has developed a couple of Builder Child themes that are enhanced to work well with several good WordPress eCommerce solutions. The problem up until very recently was the only way to make these site Mobile ready was to use plugins that actually generate a mobile ready theme when accessed by a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet. This was not a very good solution in that there were different settings required for each and every type of device. While this sort of worked if the settings were correct for the individual devices the entire “look and feel” of the web site was very different from the “look and feel” of the main theme which people view when they use a computer.
iThemes has very recently begun to create child themes that are “Responsive” and now has a few Responsive child themes that are enhanced to work with some good eCommerce solutions. Responsive means that the WordPress based web site adjusts itself to whatever device accesses the site. The type is readable, the images are viewable and the menus work on computers as well as tablets and phones and other mobile devices like the Kindle or Nook. The “look and feel” of the these Responsive sites is the same no matter how they are accessed.
I have switched the iThemes Builder theme that works with eCommerce WordPress solutions to one of the new iThemes Builder Responsive themes that is enhanced for one of my eCommerce WordPress Plugins. I am adding all of the items that are available on my regular eCommerce web site to this new Responsive site. While I cannot change the main eCommerce site I can put some links there to connect people to the new Mobile Ready eCommerce site.
The goal here is to be able to offer a way that actually works for my customers, many of which are seniors who have struggled and given up with using computers and have “graduated” to smart phones and tablets. I work on web sites “live” so you can actually “watch” as I develop this new Responsive Mobile Ready site – it will be a companion site to my main eCommerce site. Just click this Mobile Ready Site link.
The site is “under construction” I am adding to it and working on it so the appearance, content and navigation are changing – something may or may not work. Try the site with your phone, mobile device or tablet and tell me how it looks and works for you in the comments – please tell me what you are using to access this site.
For those of you who develop, manage or maintain eCommerce sites the thing to know is if my customers are increasingly using mobile devices your customers are also. It is time to do what you can to make certain your sales sites are usable with these new devices. Go to the Apple Store and try you site on iPhones and iPads — go to one of the big box stores and try your eCommerce site with everything you can – Android devices, Kindles, Nooks – phones and tablets and see if your site works with these devices. The thing to know is your customers like mine may very well be using their phones and tablets to attempt to purchase your products and you eCommerce site very well may not be working for them.
First of all this form is under construction – some parts are not working yet.
I can get replacement parts for the Made in the USA 4.5 foot and 8 foot Air Electric Garden windmills. The form below will allow you to place a parts order. You need to make certain that your windmill is in fact an Air Electric – I do not sell parts for any of the imported garden windmills. The parts I have will not fit.
On the form there are some steps to help you determine if you have the same windmill that I have parts for. There also are links on the form that will take you to my most recent newsletter on “How to Repair a Damaged Windmill” – if you are certain the parts I have will fit you can order directly from the form. If you are not certain there is a place to upload photos which is the most helpful way for me to identify your windmill.
Please do not order parts unless you are certain they will work. If you order parts and they do not work you are responsible for the return shipping cost. Parts especially windmill wheels must be repacked in exactly the same way they were shipped to you. Refunds are for the price of the parts only you will not receive a refund on the cost of shipping the parts to you. Refunds happen only after the parts are returned and then only if the parts are in perfect condition.
In other words before you order make certain that what you order will work for you on your windmill. If you are not certain check the I do not know box and fill out the form – try to include at least a couple of photos and submit it.
Here is the form – remember the form itself is under construction and so it may not work correctly. I am working at updating and changing the form.
There is a new updated “How to Repair a Damaged Windmill” newsletter on the site located on the right in the Assembly Information section. Air Electric, the manufacturer of the galvanized steel 8 foot garden windmills has stopped production permanently. There are no more complete 8 foot windmills available.
They do still have most of the replacements parts still available. There are replacement wheels, pivots and mast heads available as well as most of the parts for the towers. Currently there are no more tail fins or platforms available.
Because is is necessary to replace the entire top in most cases to repair a failed Chinese windmill I will no longer have parts available for the imports. The imports have a different shaft size than the made in the USA windmills so these require a new mast head, complete tail and a new wheel so that everything will fit and work. The complete tail includes the Pivot, Tail braces and Tail Fin. The tail fin is no longer available and the tail fins that typically come with the Chinese made windmills is too light to reuse. These light gauge steel tail fins typically fail.
So far as repairing a Made in the USA Air Electric windmill you will need to reuse the tail fin and tail braces when replacing the pivot.
There are still some parts available for the 4.5 foot Air Electric windmill. Production of this model ended several years ago.
There are no parts at all available for any of the three college windmills that Air Electric formally made. (the bearings are the same as those used in the 8 foot galvanized windmill and these are available)
Here is the updated Newsletter Repairing a Damaged Garden Windmill
There are brand new weathervane designs that were just introduced. Plus there are three new designs that were introduced last year that you might not have seen. There are over 35 college weathervanes and over 140 other weathervane designs now available. Here are the new designs:
The only manufacturer of Made in the USA 8 foot galvanized garden windmills has stopped making this very popular windmill. Back in October of 2012 the manufacturer and his employees used all of the raw materials that they had available and made up the parts that are used to make these windmills. Once this was finished the employees were laid off and continued manufacturing stopped.
The parts were packaged to make up as many complete windmills as was possible and there were parts remaining so that there would be a least some replacement parts to be used to repair older worn out or damage windmills.
There are no more of the complete windmill packages available. Some dealers very well may have a few of these still in inventory. In my case I do not have any left and the manufacturer is out of the complete 8 foot windmill packages.
I just learned a couple of day ago that the manufacturer is now out of tail fins for these windmills. What that means is the “complete” tail package which consisted of the tail fin, the two steel braces that hold the tail fin to the pivot and the pivot itself is no longer available. There are no more tail fins left in the manufacturers inventory and there will be no more made.
So what does this mean for people wanting to repair an older or damaged windmill? There are still at least some pivots as well as replacement wheels for the 8 foot windmill remaining and also some mast heads.
It is still possible to replace the most common parts, the mast head, pivot and wheel and also the tail braces – the tail fin is no longer available. So if you are wanting to repair a damage windmill plan on reusing the tail fin.
If the tail fin is also damaged and needs to be replaced the only option would be to find a local metal shop and have them fabricate a new tail fin out of galvanized steel. If the red trim is wanted this can be done with either paint or outdoor vinyl. The outdoor vinyl can be gotten at sign shops that make signs based on cutting vinyl.
There is coming a time when there will be no more parts available for the 8 foot galvanized steel windmills. I do not know at this time how many complete wheels, pivots and mast head remain in the manufacturers inventory.
What about using the tail fin from the Chinese copy of this windmill? This depends on which of the Chinese copies you are looking at. With a lot of these what fails is the wheel. The problem is the pivot shaft is a different size so to replace the cheap Chinese wheel one need to also replace the pivot and the mast head so that a replacement made in the USA wheel can be used. Quite often the tail braces and the tail fin are OK. Some of these are actually galvanized steel others are plain steel that has been painted silver.
There are some of the cheap Chinese windmill that use a tail fin that is so light that it flexes in the wind and will break in half just behind where the tail braces bolt to the tail fin.
I sell only products that I myself would buy. I will not sell any of the Chinese made garden windmills – every one that I have seen is inferior in quality so I will not sell them. Since the imported windmills are inferior and prone to failure the parts used are also inferior so I will not stock or sell any of those parts.
The alternatives are (1) reuse your old tail fin. (2) Have a metal shop make a new tail fin – be sure they use galvanized steel of the same gauge that was used on your windmill. Galvanized sheet metal will not work. (3) you might have a friend or neighbor that has one of the Chinese copies that the wheel has failed. I see a lot of these in peoples yards. There is a tower with the pivot and tail but no wheel – maybe they would sell you their tail fin.
Another alternative is to remove the entire windmill top and get one of the weathervanes – the weathervanes as it happens will fit into the 1/2 in American made mast head. Any of the weather vanes with a short mast will work. In other words the roof mount, deck mount, or post mount. Several customers have done this and what they do is order either the post of deck mount. The then use the mount to hold a flag or banner, and use the weathervane mast mounted into the mast head of their garden windmill and top it with one of the more than 130 weathervanes.
Of course if you really want a working garden windmill consider the premium quality aluminum windmills. Simply replace your old 8 foot steel windmill with a 6 – 8 – 10 or 12 foot aluminum windmill. You will end up with a garden windmill that never needs painting, does not rust and will last for years.
I just received a photo from a customer in New Zealand. They used the wheel, tail, pivot and mast head that is used on the 10 foot and 12 foot aluminum windmill for the top of their wooden custom windmill.
This project ended up looking really nice and has a very different design. I want to thank this customer for sending in the photo. Customer photos are always appreciated.
I just had an inquiry from New Zealand about shipping the aluminum windmills there. On my website is a lot of information on International shipping The thing to know about International Shipping is that the most cost effective way to ship is USPS Priority International Mail. The problem is various countries have different maximum package sizes. Australia for example allows a maximum package size of not more than 42 inches long with a maximum girth of 79 inches. New Zealand allows a maximum length of 60 inches and a maximum girth of 108 inches. What this means is the only aluminum windmills that can be shipped to Australia are the 4 foot models. While when it comes to New Zealand the 4, 6, 8 and 10 foot models can be shipped there.
It is possible to ship almost anywhere by UPS or FEDEX the problem is the cost of shipping. UPS and or FEDEX costs $500 and more to ship anywhere outside of the United States.
So if you are outside of the Continental United States and want to order one of the products I carry check the international shipping page – in general the mini windmills and weathervanes can be shipped to almost anywhere in the world. The aluminum windmills vary – if your country is not specifically listed email me and I will check – the costs shown are simply there to give you an idea of what the shipping costs are to various regions are.
Here are some important things to know about ordering -
Monday 17 December is the last day that UPS ground shipments can be received and still ensure delivery by Christmas. Orders must be in before 10AM Eastern Time.
The aluminum windmills and the weathervanes ship by UPS ground – we are not able to offer any shipping other than UPS Ground. (there is no expedited or overnight delivery available)
The mini Windmills ship USPS Priority – the last day to ensure Christmas Delivery is Tuesday 18 December – order must be in prior to 3 PM. There are several of the mini windmill styles that are temporally out of stock. I do have a new order coming from the manufacturer but it probably will not arrive in time for Christmas Delivery.
The weathervane manufacturer will be closing Thursday 20 December and will reopen on Wednesday January 2 – All weathervane orders received after 20 December will ship January 2 or 3.
The Aluminum windmill manufacturer will be closing on Thursday 20 December and they will reopen on Monday January 7. Any aluminum windmills ordered after Thursday 20 December will ship Monday January 7.
The mini windmills will continue to be shipped except on Sundays, Christmas Day and New Years Day – these are USPS holidays. The thing to know is any mini windmill orders may not be delivered in time for Christmas if ordered after Tuesday 18 December. The only way the mini windmills are shipped is USPS Priority – I do not ship these USPS Express or Overnight. I am out of a couple of mini windmill models and several of the designs are very low in inventory. There is a new mini windmill order coming but I have not gotten information when these will be shipped- these take 4-6 days to arrive here from the manufacturer.
Remember that while I do take checks or money orders – it is already too late for a check or money order to arrive in time to ensure shipment in time for Christmas.
The last of the Galvanized Steel 8 foot windmills has shipped. There will be no more of these available at all. I will be able to get parts for these for awhile – just no more complete 8 foot galvanized steel windmill kits.
Hope that everyone has a nice Christmas and New Year.
Ron eTech n Stuff
Today is truly a bitter sweet day. The last M1 Made in the USA Galvanized Garden windmill from Air Electric has shipped out today. There will NOT be any more of this excellent product manufactured. There are replacement parts available so if you have an older 8 foot garden windmill that needs repair I will still be able to get you parts.
I would like to thank Randy Christensen and his crew for consistently producing, packaging and shipping these windmills that have gone out to my customers all over the world over the past several years. I do not have the exact number of these that I have sold over the past 5 years or so but I can tell you there have been quite a few.
It is difficult for me to deal with knowing I will not be able to offer this product to my customers any longer.
If you get the chance I am sure Randy, his family and his former employees would certainly appreciate a card or a letter thanking them for making these garden windmills here in America. These can be sent to:
Air Electric Machine Co.
PO Box 215
Air Electric is a family owned business located in Lohrville Iowa. I learned today that the M1 – the familiar 8 foot galvanized steel windmill has been in continuous production since 1971. There were 653,510 manufactured. That is truly an impressive number. What is even more impressive is that a very high percentage of these are still working in numerous yards and gardens all over the world. Air Electric is one of those American companies that has made a quality product using made in the USA raw materials for many years. Unfortunately they are yet another American company that has had to stop production due to their product being copied by off shore (mostly China) manufacturers that copied the design and then produced a poorly made copy which has was imported and has flooded the American market.
I have looked at a number of the imported 8 foot windmills and none are anywhere close in quality to the Air Electric garden windmill. I have no interest in selling “junk” that will last a very short time and that will fly apart the first time exposed to winds of 30 mph or so. This means I will no longer have available an 8 foot galvanized steel garden windmill. I will still have replacement parts available.
I do carry a Made in the USA aluminum windmill line that are available in sizes from 4 feet to 30 feet in height. There is both a 6 foot and an 8 foot aluminum windmill available. I have found that these aluminum windmills are an excellent product. So if you are looking for an 8 foot garden windmill hopefully you will take a look at the aluminum windmills especially now that the very popular 8 foot Made in the USA Galvanized Steel windmill is no longer available.
The thing to know is there may be a few dealers that have a few M1 Windmills from Air Electric still in inventory. I do not know of any personally. The main thin to know is before you purchase an 8 foot steel windmill, take a close look at the box to make certain that it is in fact the USA made M1. Everything else out there that looks like this garden windmill is one of the off shore made copies. These range from very poor to barely fair in quality even though they may look like the M1 and these imports are probably not something you want to own.
If you have photos or your M1 Air Electric garden windmill or “stories” about your garden windmill please send me the photos and or “your story” I will put them up on this blog for everyone to share.