The Cawston Ostrich Farm was the site of the world’s first successful experiment using a solar-powered motor for commercial use. Aubrey Eneas selected Cawston’s Ostrich farm in sunny South Pasadena to showcase his monstrous, parabolic dish.
It was an odd sight for sure! Cawston’s flock of some 260 strange-looking birds milling around a six-story mechanical beast with its 1,788 mirrors flashing in the bright sun.
Speculation ran high for the plentiful, low-cost energy source. The article Harnessing the Sun published in 1901 by F.B. Millard proclaimed: “Why should we burn costly, hard-delved coal in power-houses when we can hitch our trolley cars to the sun?”
Note: The Solar Motor consisted of a boiler 13 feet in length and a foot wide, containing 1,000 gallons of water. The solar mirrors were configured to focus light energy on the boiler. The solar-powered steam engine pumped 1,400 gallons of water per minute from a deep well on the farm.
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Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas