1904 experiments with solar energy
Here's one for all of us who, in our childhood, set dry leaves on fire with a magnifying glass. I'm putting this here more as a curiosity than anything else, since I can't say I have personal experience or intentions with this device (!) and I doubt anyone here does either. But I just cannot resist.
The picture is from a collection of photos from 1904 in my city. A Portuguese man brought his sun ray concentrating device for demonstration. The huge device was being called a pyrheliophor. It took six months to set it up, including 6,117 5 X 10 inch mirrors. It tracked the sun, using a clock. It produced over 7,000 degrees F, said a NY Times article.
I think in this photo, it is not yet complete. But in the pdf link below I think think completed construction is depicted in the middle picture. The article in the pdf gives credit to previous experimenters with solar energy concentration-- if you are curious.