Here's Proof That People Have Been Trying to Go Green for Over a Century

Illustration for article titled Heres Proof That People Have Been Trying to Go Green for Over a Century

When you think power generation in the early 1900s, coal and steam generally come to mind. But in Alexis Madrigal's upcoming book, Powering The Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology, he shows that people were trying to find environmentally friendly alternatives via ocean waves in the nascent days of household electricity.


Madrigal recounts the adventures of Terrence Duffy, Alva Reynolds, and Fred Starr, three men who sought to use the motion of ocean waves to generate power via motion or air compression. Starr, in particular, played up the environmental perks of such technology all the way back in 1907:

Starr went on to declare that by December 1908, "Los Angeles will be a smokeless and sootless city, clean pure. It will be made so by all the power and heating plants being supplied with power and heat from the ocean waves by the Starr Wave Motor."


Obviously this didn't pan out so well, but it's kind of cool (or possibly demoralizing) that clean energy was a consideration even before global warming entered the international lexicon. For the full excerpt from Madrigal's book, be sure to check out [Wired].

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Interestingly enough people in the late 1800s were using solar power to heat water. I took a class in college on alternative engery. We had newspaper clippings from the early 1900s which had an article about electric hot water heaters being all the rage in California.

In the article the author talked about the stupidity of paying to heat water when everyone used to get free hot water from the sun. He described "solar" water heaters which were black metal containers usually located on the roof of one's house. The containers would collect rain water and the sun would heat the black metal and also the water.

Green energy has been around a long time and like many things is starting to make a comeback. Hakuna Matatta.