Charles Eames and photos of solar power history

Sunny Eames
This gorgeous photo shows designer Charles Eames demonstrating his Do Nothing Machine, an experimental solar-powered toy he made in 1958. The image comes from a LIFE photo series titled "Solar Power Back In The Day."


  1. I’m not a conspiracy theory kind of person. But I’m starting to think I should be one.
    We spend many hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars in direct payments and government subsidies every year making people involved in the different fossil fuel industries very wealthy.
    However, if all we did was power every house in the US via clean energy, that constant stream of filthy lucre would be reduced quite a bit. Then when we started plugging cars into a solar charger, the flow stops.
    Tell me why I shouldn’t believe there has been a serious and long term attempt by those with the power to keep clean energy out of our hands?
    Someone explain to me why it’s not required in the southwest that every single newly constructed building whether commercial or housing be covered completely in solar panels? Literally required. You may not build this house unless the roof is all solar.
    You may not build this office complex unless X amount of energy comes right from the sun.
    Now there are some subsidies I can support.

  2. Video of the Do-Nothing Machine in action

    In 1914, Edison and Ford teamed up to design decentralized home power for people. There is some evidence that their effort was sabotaged and certainly met with considerable resistance from the established power producers. Edwin Black tells the story in _Internal Combustion_. Here are my notes

  3. That is the coolest name for a thing. We should all have “do nothing machines”. I’m going to put mine on the roof where it can gobble up sunlight all day.

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