Stuff that matters


A snarky 1917 article was totally sure we’d be over coal by 2017.

America was in the throes of a coal shortage with the cold of winter on its way. People were freaking out. One unidentified writer wasn’t having it, though.

“I have an idea that nobody will be using coal as fuel a hundred years hence,” the author wrote on Nov. 12 in a Chicago News article. (Hat tip: Matt Novak.) “Something better and cheaper will have been discovered.”

It’s 2017, and the U.S. still gets about a third of its electricity from coal, but the author was right about one thing: “Somebody will have found a way to put the sun’s energy in storage, and pump it into people’s houses thru pipes.” Solar power was indeed invented, and its price continues to drop around the world.

The author has a great line for the day when solar finally edges out coal: “Our grandfathers, the poor boobs, actually used coal for heating purposes!”