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Weather vane

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A weather vane

A weather vane is a device with a freely rotating pointer used to indicate the direction of the wind.[1] Weather vanes served as simple devices for showing the direction of the wind and its speed for centuries.[2] They were a critical tool for agriculture, travel and shipping. They serve a largely decorative function today.[2] They have been replaced by specialized weather instruments.

To work correctly a weather vane should be at the highest point of a building.[2] It needs to be as far away as possible from other things that might interrupt the wind.[2] The simplest form is a horizontal arrow or other form freely rotating on a vertical rod. When the wind blows, the arrow shows the direction and speed.[2] The earliest known weather was made by the astronomer Andronicus in 48 BC.[3] It sat on top of the Tower of the Winds in Athens.[3] It was between 4 feet (1.2 m) and 8 feet (2.4 m) long and was the shape of a head and torso of a man with the tail of a fish.[3]

The word 'vane' comes from the Old English fana banner. This is related to the Old High German fano (cloth); from the Latin pannus (cloth or rag).[4]

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