Snopes writes: “I’d put my money on solar energy…I hope we don’t have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, March 1931
Troberg writes: Is this true? (Did Edison really say that?) Where there even any viable technologies for harnessing solar power in 1931?
Logobros writes: This article outlines the history of the development of solar power, and though it doesn’t include the Edison quote, it shows the identical sentiment being expressed in the last third of the nineteenth century:
“The earliest known record of the direct conversion of solar radiation into mechanical power belongs to Auguste Mouchout, a mathematics instructor at the Lyce de Tours. Mouchout began his solar work in 1860 after expressing grave concerns about his country’s dependence on coal. “It would be prudent and wise not to fall asleep regarding this quasi-security,” he wrote. “Eventually industry will no longer find in Europe the resources to satisfy its prodigious expansion. Coal will undoubtedly be used up. What will industry do then?” By the following year he was granted the first patent for a motor running on solar power and continued to improve his design until about 1880.”
Thank you to Snopes, Troberg and Logobros who put this vital information online at snopes.com. You guys are cool.