Monday, April 18, 2016

Frank Herbert's Windmill (1977)

In March 1977, the Associated Press reported that Dune author Frank Herbert (1920-1986) had chosen to live a self-reliant life of "techno-peasantry." From his six-acre homestead on Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Herbert occupied a solar-paneled residence with his family. They grew their own vegetables in a lean-to greenhouse that supplied radiant heat to their adjacent home. They raised chickens and gathered droppings to fertilize their garden.

Herbert also collaborated with Taliesin-trained architect John Underhill Ottenheimer to design a panemone windmill. The duo patented their turbine and sought to market it for Sears or Wards company catalog sales.

Drawings and research notes pertaining to their windmill are housed with the author's manuscripts at California State University, Fullerton University Archives and Special Collections.

Like Albert Ledner, John Ottenheimer continues to practice architecture. He is assisting with the restoration of Frank Lloyd Wright's Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

Read more:  "Writers sees self-reliance as key to survival." The Manhattan Mercury 25 March 1977.

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