Thomas Edison, 1931: "I’d Put My Money on Solar"

OK, I’m about to cry…

In 1931, not long before he died, the [Edison] told his friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone: “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”


That, from the New York Times Magazine, is the conclusion of an excellent article on the Clean Green Thinking of America’s most famous inventor, Thomas Edison. You can read the whole article here, but the gist is that Edison worked on various green initiatives, including electric cars, wind turbines, and an off-the-grid home in New Jersey that the New York Times then called "utterly and for all time independent of the nearness or farness of the big electric companies."

From this, I learn two things. First, apparently "farness" used to be a word. Second, our reliance on cheap fossil fuels has created a kind of stagnation in the energy industry that is pretty depressing. It’s just as Edison feared, we’ve had to wait until oil and coal are running out to tackle the abundant renewable energy created by our natural environment. He wasn’t an environmentalist, so don’t let the New York Times fool you there, but he knew a good idea when he saw one. And now, finally, we’re moving forward once again.