• 8020 Strehler Road
  • Corcoran, MN 55340

Joe Jacobs: The man behind the camera

Posted on by Steve Jacobs

Just as Joe Jacobs was behind many of the designs that shaped their old wind systems, he also was a very skilled photographer. Often times he is absent from photos himself in favor of being the one taking them. It is for this reason that there are not many pictures with Joe in them.

This website was redone a little over a year ago now to showcase the history of the Jacobs Wind Electric Company and the brothers Joe and Marcellus who started it.  In that vein here is a picture of Joe, his wife Mabel, and son Richard from around 1952. Thanks to Richard for sharing this.

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Looking Back at the History of ‘Green’ Entrepreneurs

Posted on by Steve Jacobs

In the 1920s – 1950s when wind energy first really sprang up, there were no ‘green’ incentives for the development of wind energy. The environment wasn’t of any concern, in fact the contrary was true: the concern centered on man surviving the environment, not the other way around. There were no government incentives for the development of technology either, again it was quite the opposite and factors like Rural Electrification had an adverse effect (at the time) on the industry. If you’ve read through the Brief History of Jacobs Wind Electric on this website, this is all an old story.

For a more comprehensive look at this history you don’t need to take our word for it. Here’s a post by Sean Silverthorne from the Harvard Business School aptly titled:

The Untold Story of ‘Green’ Entrepreneurs

This article touches on the early entrepreneurs, some of their motives, and what they faced. It also looks forward into the industry today and makes some interesting points on current incentives and geographical hot spots of development.

For even more on this topic look to Historical Trajectories and Corporate Competencies in Wind Energy by Geoffery Jones and Loubna Bouamane. This paper takes a deeper look into the business history of wind energy on an international level from the 1920s to present day. For a rounded explanation of strengths and, ultimately, faults in the U.S. based wind industry and how it matches up with the global market this is a necessary read.

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Joe Jacobs’ Electric Car

Posted on by Steve Jacobs

Joe Jacobs' Electric CarSpecial thanks to Mr. Phil Wilson for finding and sending us this picture of Joe Jacobs from the March 1944 issue of Mechanix Illustrated. Joe is pictured here driving an electric car of his own design to work. As the caption says the car was capable of a top speed of only 15 mph, but it had a range of 100 miles on a full charge.

The pages sent also contain pictures of period wartime technology and a do-it-yourself guide to a homemade anemometer. The rest of the pages can be seen here. To see this and more documents and articles, visit the Additional Info section at the end of our history.

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Marcellus Jacobs at the State Fair

Posted on by Steve Jacobs

A look back at Jacobs Wind Electric almost 30 years ago before the end of the second wave of wind energy. Marcellus Jacobs talks about Jacobs Wind, the 10kW machine he’s standing next to, and other various design factors and experience that he had picked up from over 50 years in the wind industry at that time.

The second half is an informal conversation with a fair patron where ML talks more on the basic design of the Jacobs machine, what makes a good wind site, the reason for going with three blades, and more.

The original footage was recorded on Betamax, transferred to VHS, copied to DVD and finally encoded into MPEG. Along the way the first two clips fell victim to some excess noise. This new video takes care of that problem.

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Broken Links

Posted on by Steve Jacobs

Apologies to anyone who has come to this site recently to read a page starting with “Not Found”. Unfortunately due to the recent reworking of, some links from outside sites have been broken. Following is a list of the most requested documents.

In the next couple of weeks, these documents will become a part of the overall history of Jacobs Wind Electric stretching from the 1920s to present day. In the meantime, this will offer a way for existing links to function.

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Posted on by Steve Jacobs is under temporary reconstruction.  It will return in full very soon

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