"The device is simplicity itself. A small steam engine supplies the power which keeps a perforated iron screen revolving so that the sun does not strike any particular spot long enough to cause a freckle."
Or, you know, you could just use an umbrella.
Reader bunaen ran across this old newspaper clipping in a box of family memorabilia dating to around 1917. He thinks it's from the Redondo Beach Daily Breeze. I love the way it pairs a ludicrous gadget concept with breathless reporting that wouldn't be remotely out of place in modern times. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again, eh?
I'm afraid my nose surpasses the freckle limit for cuteness. If only I had listened to the Smile's staff of scientists.
Want a bit more blasting from the past? Bunaen has a whole Flickr set full of photos and clippings culled from the same boxes he found this in. It includes some shots from old Hollywood, where Bunaen's dad was a musician for the movie studios. Oh, the swell things that turn up in the BoingBoing Flickr Pool!
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.