@ Cougars- The wind turbine blade design that you are talking about is called the Savonius wind turbine design, although it was probably a modified version that would be more efficient for power generation, likely something that resembles an auger.
This design was created in the 1920s and has been used successfully in the developing world. The design may not be that efficient, but it can be made using an oil drum and a few scraps of metal. The Savonius turbine design works well in applications for generating small amounts of electricity, and pumping water. In fact, MIT has installed these types of turbines in the Honduras to do just that, aid in pumping water and making life a little more pleasant.