The oddity, which looks like a crystal ball, had been put in a box and forgotten but is finally on show at yesterday's Antiques for Everyone show at Birmingham's NEC.
In direct sunlight the contraption can create 1.5 volts of electricity, which is enough power to run a modern day digital watch. [...]
The first basic solar technology was built in 1883 by Charles Fritts but was found to be far too inefficient and nothing like today's models.
Russian physicist Aleksandr Stoletov developed the concept further by developing the first solar cell based on the outer photoelectric effect, a more stable and reliable cell.
But it was not until Russell Ohm patented the idea of the junction semiconductor solar cell, that the modern day solar panel was born.
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