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The Wild Weathervane Guide by

The Wild Weathervane Guide

What is a weathervane? "A revolving pointer to show the direction the wind is blowing, mounted on the top of a building or something high".

In US and Canada, the weathervane is also known as a weathercock. It is an instrument used for showing the direction of the wind. It is typically used as an architectural model on the highest point of the building. The word vane originated from old English means flag.


Outdoor Chimney Weather Vane Air Wind Vane


It has a cockerel design is attached with a compass and decorative vanes. Other than cockerel design there are multiple designs like ships, arrows, and horses. Not all the weather vanes have arrows as pointers. When the wind is high the design like an arrow or cockerel indicated the direction the wind is blowing.




Wind Vane Weather 



History of the weathervane:

In the 2nd century B.C., weather vanes were invented in China and Greece. The earliest written reference of weather vane appears in Hunainanzi and a weather vane was also indicated on top of the Tower of Winds in Athens.

In the 3rd Century, Chinese weather vanes were shaped like birds and named “wind-indicating bird.” There were hundreds of different designs introduced at that time. Some designs are used for some purposes. Militaries use weather vane their specific styles. Every sect of society have their own design of weather vane and every weather vane design have meaning. One of the oldest designs is a dragon-shaped weather vane. The dragon was used to point out the direction.


This design is still available in the National Gallery of Art in the US.



Weather vane 


Modern aero vanes are actually the carbon copy of that model. An Anemometer is coupled with a weather vane.


The World’s Largest Weather Vane:

According to the Guinness World Records, the largest weather vane is a Tio Pepe Sherry advertisement located in Jerez, Spain. The city of Montague, Michigan also claimed to have the largest standard design of weather vane. It’s a ship and arrow which measure 48 feet tall with an arrow 26 feet long.


World's Largest Weathervane in Montague


Other than these two the challenger to this title of the world’s largest weather vane is located in Whitehorse, Yukon. This weather vane is located at the Yukon Transportation Museum besides Whitehorse International Airport. This weather vane is used by the pilots to determine wind direction, used as landmarks by tourists. It requires 5-knot wind to rotate it.

Another challenger but as the tallest weather vane is located in West lock, Alberta. The classic weather vane that reaches 50 feet is topped by a 1942 Case Model D tractor. This landmark is located at the museum Canadian Tractor Museum.



Westlock, AB, Canada - World's Largest Tractor Weather Vane


Rooster Becomes Law:

Weathervanes spread across Europe and have different shapes. The weathervanes on towers and church steeples were prominent at that time. They had a variety of different adornments often a cross or an image of the patron saint. The main purpose of all the weather vanes was to point out the wind direction.

Before going to the rooster law it is important to understand the story behind it. It becomes most favorite weathervane because, in biblical passages describing these events, it was said that Peter would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed. Because of this rooster became the symbol for Christians St, peter.


In the 9th century, Pope Nicholas made the rooster official. He declares that all the churches must display the rooster on their steeples or domes as a symbol of Peter’s betrayal to Jesus. Many rural came and tried to replace the rooster but it stayed. European travellers bring weather vanes from the modern world during their traveling. They put rooster on them, still many weather vanes replace a rooster but its importance remained there.


Working Principle:

A weather vane is attached to the highest point on a structure. It is an instrument used to determine the direction of the wind. The free-spinning directional pointer has an aerodynamic shape that is winder on the back end of the pointer and narrows toward the head of the arrow. This helped the arrow to point out the direction of the wind.

A weather vane that is shaped properly is usually balanced at the free-spinning axis. If it isn’t balanced properly the weather vane will stop moving. If trees or buildings are near then it’s quite difficult to guess the right direction of the air due to turbulence.

The weather vane points toward the direction of the wind because the balancing weight is at the pointer. The surface area on the back of the arrow is lighter and catches the breeze. It turns with the airflow to distribute it properly.

 Just under the pointer, there are directional markers, pointing toward the north, south, east, and west. When the wind catches the thick end of the pointer, it will swing around, so the arrow points directly at the wind.



Monitoring Weather:

Monitoring weather helps get familiar with the weather patterns in your area. Take note, whenever possible and document any changes in the weather, as well as the direction of the air. Also, note the direction of the wind when a storm is expected. With the passage of time, you will get to know your local weather and might predict coming storms accordingly.


Placement of weather vane:

A Weather vane as we know is used to measure the direction of the winds. So a weather vane should be placed at the top of the building or the highest point of the building in order to get the most accurate results. There should not be any interference otherwise weather vane will not work properly.


Decorative purposes:

Weather vanes are not only used for indicating the direction of the wind. It is also used for decorative purposes. Farmers used weather vane on their barn to increase its looks. Some people used a decorative design on their buildings and houses. It is quite easy to install and that’s why preferred by the public.


Latest Weather vanes:

There are multiple updated weather vanes in the market. The simple weather vane only predicts the direction of the wind but these weather vanes are used to predict the direction, the energy of the wind and record data on their systems. The latest weather vane is called an anemometer. There are multiple types of anemometers are available in the market.



The weather vane is the oldest used instrument for indicating wind directions. There are different designs used for weather vanes. It is also used as a decorative design for houses. With the passage of time, a lot of changes have been made through this.

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