Gaynor Minden pointe shoes are made using the power of the sun

Gaynor Minden pointe shoes are made using the power of the sun

Gaynor Minden pointe shoes are now made using renewable energy since the installation of 1,092 solar panels on their factory roof.

The Gaynor Minden pointe shoe factory in Lawrence, Massachusetts

The 1,092 solar panels on the roof generates 273,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, not only enough to power the factory floor but to supply neighbouring businesses too. There is an online control panel that gives live updates of how much power the solar panels on the roof of the factory are generating. We’ve been told you can even see some activity at night if there’s a full moon! Take a look at how much power is being generated.

Some 35 employees produce around 100,000 ballet shoes a year, which are destined to 93 countries. Among the reciepients are the Bolshoi Ballet, the Royal Ballet and the Kirov Ballet.

Who discovered the Photovoltaic effect?

Solar panels make use of a discovery made almost 150 years ago by a scientist called William Grylls Adams.

In 1876 William Grylls Adams, with his student, Richard Evans Day, discovered that a solid material, selenium, produced electricity when exposed to light.

Today this electricity produced directly from light is known as the photovoltaic effect. They discovered that an electrical current could be started in selenium solely by exposing it to light.

Although selenium solar cells failed to convert enough sunlight to power electrical equipment, they proved that a solid material could change light into electricity without heat and without moving parts.

William Grylls Adams

He was born on February 16th 1836 at his parents’ farm, Lidcot, at Laneast near Launceston, Cornwall. One of seven children he was educated in a private school in Birkenhead, and went to Cambridge where he received his BA in 1859. In 1863 Adams was appointed as Lecturer in the Department of Natural Philosophy, King’s College, London, where in 1865 he succeeded James Clerk Maxwell as professor, holding the post for the next forty years. Adams served as President of the Physical Society of London in 1878-1880. In 1880 he was elected as President of the Mathematical and Physical Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Adams was also Elected Fellow of the Royal Society.

His links with the Kew Observatory Committee of the Royal Society and the Board of Visitors of the Royal Observatory led him into work on terrestrial magnetism. He wrote several papers on this subject. Adams also carried out a study into the relative benefits of oil and electric light for lighthouses. William Grylls Adams was the brother of John Couch Adams (1819-1892), the astronomer who discovered Neptune.

William Grylls Adams moved to Broadstone, Dorset where he lived until his death on 10th April 1915, aged 79. His grave in Broadstone cemetery is marked by a Celtic Cross ironically in the shadow of a large tree.

What a small world we live in

The rather spendid news that Gaynor Minden now use solar energy to make their famous pointe shoes closes the circle on a rather strange series of facts: Broadstone is the home of Gaynor Minden Europe’s* warehouse – which distributes pointe shoes made in a factory powered by the Photovoltaic effect – which was discovered by William Grylls Adams – who lays in rest in the cemetery in Broadstone!

*Gaynor Minden Europe fulfilment services is provided by Dancemania Ltd

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