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Entries in solar power (18)

Saturday
May012010

Will Science Harness Sun Power After the War? (1942)

In 1942, with World War II raging, people were naturally thinking about what a post-War world might look like.

Once the present world-wide orgy of destruction has come to an end, there will be a tremendous job of reconstruction to do. Ruined cities, factories, power stations will have to be rebuilt, wrecked railroads and highways relaid, blasted mines and oil wells reopened, sunken ships replaced.

This syndicated piece by Dr. Frank Thone, found in the March 22, 1942 Galveston Daily News (Galveston, TX), imagines a world -- should it not be destroyed outright-- on which humanity could build a bright new future using the latest in solar power technologies. The entire piece appears below.

1942 March 22 Galveston Daily News - Galveston TX paleofuture

(While doing a quick search to learn more about Dr. Thone I found this interesting article he wrote in 1934.)

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Wednesday
Apr212010

Follow-The-Sun House (1959)

Today we have yet another panel from Arthur Radebaugh's excellent Closer Than We Think series of comic strips. Though the strip often ran on Sunday, the more eagle-eyed amongst you (read: nerdy) may notice that this particular strip was published in the Toronto Star Weekly on Saturday, May 2, 1959. 

Before alternative energy policy became a political wedge issue, techno-utopians like Radebaugh promoted renewable energy as sleek and sexy. Solar energy was supposed to power our cars, drive our space colonies and make deserts bloom. As we enter into a new era of optimism --driven by the New Optimists, if you will-- it seems that "the future" just might become less politicized and more dependent upon the scientific, the dynamic and the rational.

But then again, maybe I'm just an optimist.

Don't be surprised if many of tomorrow's homes are built on turntables. They would slowly pivot all day long to receive maximum benefit from health-giving sun ray and insure heat in winter.

This warm and colorful year-round design is adapted from an aluminum firm's summer house which has been studied and admired by architects. It would be built, together with a patio, over a service and garage area.

Ground and living levels would connect through a glass-enclosed staircase. Two-way glass could bring the outside view to those on the inside, while protecting the latter from inquisitive passersby.

Next week: Space Farmers

 

A special thanks to Tom Z. for a color scan of this strip.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Monday
Mar222010

Robert McCall (1920-2010)

With Robert McCall's recent death at the age of 90 it seems fitting we take a look at the artist's statement he wrote for his 1981 show at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, A Vision of the Future: The Art of Robert McCall. You'll notice that he uses the word "artist" quite often. Apparently he struggled to be recognized as an "artist" rather than an "illustrator," which to him was a lesser term.

I am living in the future I dreamed about when I was a young boy, and for me it is just as bright and wonderful as I imagined it would be. Many of the paintings in this exhibition are my current graphic thoughts about tomorrow.

One of the joys of being an artists is the freedom to create one's own world, and through the use of brushes and paints, to explore that world and participate in adventures of the mind that the real world would not possibly provide. Like the real world, these excursions of the imagination are fraught with inaccuracies of perception -- it is rare that one glimpses through the veil of time even a hint of tomorrow's reality nor does it seem important to me, whether one's perceptions are right or wrong -- the pleasure is in making the predictions and doing the work.

Today we live in a world filled with awesome possibilities, both good and bad. The rush of technology is so rapid, to stay abreast of it has become more and more difficult. Our understanding of the physical universe continues to grow and astonish us with its marvelous complexity.

To be an artist in these times of explosive change is, for me, a privilege and a challenge. My goal is to document in my drawings and paintings a small part of this changing world and to anticipate in my work, the future that lies ahead.

 

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Saturday
Sep052009

Solar Cars, Electric Guitars and Bionic Arms (1977)

The Journal News of Hamilton, OH devoted much of its February 27, 1977 edition to "Our Third 100 Years." Harding Junior High student James Schmidt wrote a piece for the newspaper, imagining what life might look like in the 21st century. James describes 13-year-old kids driving solar-powered cars, futuristic electric guitars and his father's bionic arm. Sounds about right.

1977 Feb 27 Journal News - Hamilton OH Paleo-future

Previously on Paleo-Future:

Saturday
Jun202009

Chrysler VP Predicts Solar-Powered Cars (1958)

The current crisis in the American auto industry has led to louder (though long-standing) charges that it did not do enough to produce fuel-efficient vehicles using cutting-edge automotive technologies. Given Chrysler's bankruptcy filing, and recent sale to Fiat, it seems appropriate that we look at what the auto industry was telling the American public about the future of cars 50 years ago.

This February 9, 1958 edition of the sunday strip Closer Than We Think by Arthur Radebaugh quotes James C. Zeder, a Chrysler vice-president. Mr. Zeder predicted that in the years ahead solar-powered cars would be feasible and that the expanding knowledge of nuclear and solar energy would bring more abundant power to people everywhere. The full text of the strip appears below. As always, thanks to Tom Z. for the color version of this panel.

Detroit, Feb. 7 -- The automobile industry may be producing cars driven by solar power in the years ahead, James C. Zeder, Chrysler vice-president, predicted today.

"We know how to get electrical energy from sunlight by means of silicon converters," said the Chrysler engineering expert. "If we continue to increase the efficiency of these converters, and if we are able to develop small, efficient energy storage cells solar powered cars will be feasible."

Zeder added that expanding knowledge of nuclear and solar energy is "bringing into sight" more abundant power for people everywhere.

SUNRAY SEDAN

Tomorrow the sunmobile may replace the automobile. The power of bottled sunshine will propel it. Your solar sedan will take energy from sunrays and store it in accumulators that work like a battery. This power will drive your car just like gasoline does today.

Previously on Paleo-Future:

 

Friday
Feb292008

Closer Than We Think! Weather Control (1958)


This Closer Than We Think strip about weather control appeared in the June 22, 1958 Chicago Tribune.

In years to come, there will be satellite equipment for forecasting - as well as controlling - the weather.

 

The effects of air and humidity masses can be calculated more precisely from above. Sunspots, solar rays and other space disturbances will be more easily observed and studied. And sensitive sighting and analysis devices will make long-range predictions highly accurate.

Control of weather is the next step. In the words of Dr. I. M. Levitt, Director of the Fels Planetarium at the Frankline Institute: "In time, huge solar mirrors five or more miles in diameter may be used to reflect radiation of the sun to specific areas on earth to increase evaporation and to prevent crop-killing frosts."


See also:
Foolproof Weatherman of 1989 (1939)
Communities May Be Weatherized (Edwardsville Intelligencer, 1952)
American Version of Postcards Showing the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
The Coming Ice Age (1982)
A Wonderful Day to Fly (1980)
Glenn T. Seaborg's 1989 (1964)
Lyndon B. Johnson on 2063 A.D. (1963)
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
Space Colony Possible (The News, 1975)
Solar Energy for Tomorrow's World (1980)

 

Friday
Dec072007

Transportation of the Future (1992)


The 1992 children's book Transport (Timelines) features this two-page spread of futuristic bicycle wheels, solar-powered cars, high-speed trains and fire engines with robotic arms.

See also:
The Future World of Transportation