Howden's HWP 300 wind turbine, 1988.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Model (Scale 1:50) of a wind turbine manufactured by James Howden & Co. Wind turbines use the wind to make electricity. Wind turns the blades, which turn a shaft connected to a generator. This converts the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity. James Howden launched this 31 metre tall wind turbine design, the largest available at the time, in the early 1980s after testing a much smaller prototype. Despite their size, the Howden turbines did not perform very well. In 1990 they were installed in California in considerable numbers. However, the plan was unsuccesful - this was a costly leson for Howden, forcing the company out of the market.