Weathervane History Highlights
by David Ferro
The history of weathervanes began in ancient Mesopotamia. The oldest one of record appeared in the literature about 4000 years ago. A wind vane was mentioned in an Akkadian fable, written between 1800 and 1600 B.C. The passage reads, “They look at the windvane for the direction of the wind.” Nearby, ancient Egyptians were also watching wind direction. Ancient images of the temple of Luxor (inset) show tall poles with long cloth streamers mounted on the facade. The temple’s construction began under Amenhotep III, in about 1400 B.C. The Egyptian Abydos Temple of Seti I has a base relief depicting soldiers with banners blowing in the wind to show archers the wind’s direction. Art depicting the lighthouse on the Island of Pharos in Alexandria c. 260 B.C. (inset) shows two long streamers for indicating wind direction to approaching mariners. At about the same time in Chinese history, pole-mounted streamers also appeared.