W. Roland MCClellan has provided us with a wonderful, fun exhibit for our glasscase in the lobby. After retirement, Roland was motivated to explore his creativity. He found that whirligigs offered almost unlimited design and mechanical challenges. The whirligigs in this exhibit are only a few examples of what can be done with this interesting media.
Although limited records exist, it is thought that whirligigs evolved from weathervanes and wind monitoring devices in 14th century Europe. Mechanical movement in whirligigs is provided by wind driven propellors, rotating crankshafts and connecting rods. Automation includes rotation on their base like weathervanes, and any required movement of design components. In the new world, weathervanes and whirligigs reached a high degree of development by early American craftsmen. This provided an inexpensive outlet for creative expression and produced attractive accessories for home and garden.
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