Wayback Machine: Solar Power From Contracting Wires, 1932


We have seen some wierd and wonderful ideas from the past through Modern Mechanix, but this one has us scratching our head. A parabolic reflector focuses heat on tungsten wires stretched the length of the drum, lengthening under the heat. As the drum turns, the wire hits cold water and contracts. "As the drum rotates the wires pass out of the focal range of the sun’s rays and are doused in a trough of water at the bottom. Sudden cooling of the wires causes them to contract rapidly, pulling on a bell crank at the end of the drum. This action in turn causes the dogs to engage notches in the fixed ratchet and drive the drum around. Rotation of the drum causes the shaft to which it is fixed to revolve and operate the pulley on the same shaft" Of course, General Electric bought the patent so nobody else could have this and put them out of business.::Modern Mechanix

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