Weather Vanes

What Are Weather Vanes?

Have you ever stopped and looked at the houses in the countryside? The chances are that they’re going to have small arrow-like figures on top of their roofs. Those figurines are called weather vanes. They are traditional devices used to check which direction the wind is blowing in.

Also called weathercocks, they are made of a central arrow piece that moves around the cardinal points as it catches the wind. They are placed in high places to catch the purest breezes.

History of Weather Vanes 

We have records of weather vanes that go as far as the first century B.C. They used to be made of bronze and would be shaped as fantastic figures, such as the Greek deity Triton.

However, its classic rooster shape goes back to the ninth-century A.C when the pope decreed it as a symbol of Christianity that referred to the prophecy of Peter denying Jesus’ name three times before the rooster crows in the morning.

In addition, the rooster’s tail has the perfect shape to catch the winds, and it symbolically represents how roosters are the first animals to see the sunrise.

How Does a Weather Vane Work? 

This is the simplest weather instrument you are ever going to see, as it only needs a tail and an arrow to work. The tail catches the breeze and pushes the arrow towards the direction of the wind. Hence, if you see the arrow pointing towards the north, that means the wind is blowing from north to south.

Types of Weather Vanes

weathervane with pair of geese

Yes, there is more than just one type of weather vane. In fact, there are three main types that you can choose from:

Weather Vane

These are the classical ornamental figures with an arrow and four cardinal points. You might see these on top of churches or barns, and they are also the easiest ones to read.

Wind Sock

You can find these near airports. However, it is not the most helpful model as it doesn’t indicate the cardinal points. Moreover, you can measure the strength of the wind by noticing how much the sock is inflating.

Digital Wind Vane

This is the upgraded version of the regular wind vane, as it usually measures much more than just the direction of the wind. Meteorological stations typically use them to make their forecasts more accurate.

Benefits of Using Weather Vanes 

  • It helps you detect possible storms and take your precautions to remain safe
  • You can determine whether your home is going to be in danger because of a hurricane and prepare yourself
  • Knowing the direction of the wind can help you plan out your recreative activities such as golf and boating
  • You can become a storm chaser and help your community to stay safe
  • Sometimes having fun while watching the weather can be the biggest benefit of them all

Famous Weather Vanes in the World

Weather Vane

Who knew that even weather vanes could become famous? Check out some of the most popular wind vanes of all time.

Gallo Di Ramperto

This Italian relic was built around 800 A.C. It lived for over 1000 years in a little church tower in Brescia until it was discovered and placed in the Museum of Santa Giulia where we can see it today.

Old Father Time

A grim design that reminds us of our unavoidable ending is the protagonist of this piece. However, this antique weather vane holds a bit of irony, as it has been damaged two times, yet it refuses to die and keeps being repaired.

The Tío Pepe Weather Vane

The Tío Pepe Weather Vane currently holds the Guinness Record as the largest working weather vane. It started as a publicity stunt and now is an award-winning ornament that makes everyone in Spain proud.

Red-Robin of the Cuckooland Estate

Laying on top of the tallest tower of Zebarella’s castle is this fantastic ornament that carries the name of the most popular bird in England. It also helps us remember our brave post-men who were once called robins due to their red capes.

Facts about Weather Vanes 

Weather vanes have had a fascinating history throughout the century. Check out some of their highlights down here.

  • The Bayeux Tapestry, a Viking relic from 1065, shows a weather vane on Westminster Abbey
  • George Washington created a “dove of peace” weather vane that still stands today
  • Tomas Jefferson created an inside mechanism that would tell him which way the weather vane was pointing so he wouldn’t have to go outside
  • In antique Europe, weather vanes were used to show archers the direction of the wind


Wind Sock

Weather vanes are very handy devices that can upgrade your house and help you stay safe by predicting the weather. Hopefully, you found this guide useful. Please share it with your friends and family so they can know more about this fantastic device.

FAQs about Weather Vanes 

If you still have any questions, check out our FAQ section and find out more about wind vanes.

What Is Weather Vane Science?

It is the practice of predicting the weather using weather vanes. With them, you can tell if it’s going to rain in a few hours or not.

What Is the Use of Weather Vanes?

Some people use it as decoration, but its real use is to know which way the wind is blowing and predict future weather.

Do Weather Vanes Always Point in the Direction of the Wind?

Yes! Its mechanism is made to rotate towards the direction of the wind. An exception is, of course, if there’s no wind.

Why Do Barns Have Weather Vanes?

They used to be placed on top of barn’s cupolas because those were the highest places available, and weather vanes placed higher have more accurate predictions.

Who Was the Inventor of the Weather Vane?

A Greek astronomer called Andronicus. He created the first weather vane with the shape of Triton, who had the torso of a man and the tail of a fish.

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