Star Zephyr, Monitor, Wards Air King, and The Wonder Mill are names that can still be seen across rural America if you look closely at the faded lettering on old windmills.
Russell Smelser has been looking closely at windmills since he began restoring and servicing old windmills shortly after he graduated from high school. Traveling to family reunions as a young man, Smelser said they would go by an old wooden windmill east of Valley Falls. He became interested in the old workhorses and eventually purchased a Monitor windmill from a farmer south of McLouth, Kan., for his first restoration project.
The Baker Manufacturing Company of Evansville, Wis., first introduced the Original Monitor Vaneless windmill in 1875. It was called the Monitor because the weight on the windmill was modeled after the Civil War era battleship by the same name. Baker Manufacturing Company produced windmills from 1875 to 1912.