Texts conflict regarding the origins of the Blooker Cocoa Mill, which was erected for the Columbian Exposition at the entrance to the wind engine exhibit. It is confirmed that the windmill was constructed on site by the Blooker Cocoa Company, and the wind-driven mill actually ground cocoa on site that was used to make treats sold at the fair.
Contrary to many sources, this windmill was not relocated from Holland but rather built specifically for the fair. A Chicago Tribune article written at the time of the fair said the mill was originally built in Holland in 1860 and was reconstructed by millwright A. Verdonk and his sons. According to the Dutch Mill Database, the original windmill, called De Vriendschap (The Friendship) was constructed for Blooker Cocoa to replace a horse-driven tobacco mill. The new windmill ground cocoa for Blooker using wind power for several years. A duplicate of this windmill was constructed for the fair; the original in Amsterdam was converted to steam power around 1895 and then razed in 1937. There are no indications of what happened to the duplicate mill after the fair.
The top fifteen windmill manufacturers competed head-to-head in,
arguably, the most famous marketing displays of wind engines. Each
company showcased their latest wind engine models, each trying to be the
tallest, most powerful, or most colorful to attract the most visitors.
The display by Aermotor was the tallest at the fair; it stood a total of
130' high, achieved by mounting a wind engine atop a decomissioned
custom mill. Symbolically, it represented the modern windmills'
dominance over the old European designs.
-Baker, T. Lindsay. A Field Guide to American Windmills. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985
-Appelbaum, Stanley. The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. New York: Dover Publications, 1980.
-Charles Francis Himes collection
-Dutch Mill Database
Sketch of the Blooker cocoa mill (1893) from the Chicago Tribune.
Photo of the windmill exhibit (1893) from The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.
Photo of the Aermotor combination custom and farm windmill display (1893) by Charles Francis Himes.