One of GE's earliest photovoltaic (or solar) cells, this is a slightly smaller demo version of the "Sun Motor" unveiled at the 1939 World's Fair. You can read more about the Sun Motor--and see it ostentatiously demoed by GE publicist and "amateur magician" William Gluesing--over here. GE
General Electric has pretty much had its hand in every major technological advance in the 130 years since its founding (in part by Thomas Edison!). The company recently started a Tumblr of some of its most striking innovations, filtered through Instagram, a photo sharing service that crops and alters photos to look all fuzzy and vintagey, something like a Polaroid or Instamatic. But this equipment looks at least as amazing without any photo filters, so we asked GE to send us the unaltered photos of these pulse-detonation activators and electrochemical fuel cells and all the other cool stuff they’ve been posting.
GE tells me that the motivation for the Tumblr was simple: “We like Instagram, we like Tumblr, and we like to geek out on cool tech. It’s our tech, but at times it even feels a little sci-fi–there’s always been an art to science that people continue to enjoy.” GE called on photographer Hans Gissinger to shoot items from GE’s archives as well as more modern projects being worked on right now. Most of these items are stored in GE’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, New York, near Schenectady, though they plan to head to other manufacturing plants across the country to capture the goodies stored elsewhere.
Here’s the Instagrammed version of the photo we included at the top of this post: