Wind power has been used as long as humans have put sails into the wind. For more than two millennia wind-powered machines have ground grain and pumped water. Wind power was widely available and not confined to the banks of fast-flowing streams, or later, requiring sources of fuel. Wind-powered pumps drained the polders of the Netherlands, and in arid regions such as the American mid-west or the Australian outback, wind pumps provided water for live stock and steam engines.
The first windmill used for the production of electric power was built in Scotland in July 1887 by Prof James Blyth of Anderson's College, Glasgow (the precursor of Strathclyde University).
Blyth's 10 metres (33 ft) high, cloth-sailed wind turbine was installed in the garden of his holiday cottage at Marykirk in Kincardineshire and was used to charge accumulators developed by the Frenchman Camille Alphonse Faure, to power the lighting in the cottage, thus making it the first house in the world to have its electric power supplied by wind power.
Blyth offered the surplus electric power to the people of Marykirk for lighting the main street, however, they turned down the offer as they thought electric power was "the work of the devil." Although he later built a wind turbine to supply emergency power to the local Lunatic Asylum, Infirmary and Dispensary of Montrose the invention never really caught on as the technology was not considered to be economically viable.