Nov 9, 2023 - Climate

Remember when: Marion Barry unveiled the "gasifier" machine

A gasifier device from the 1940s attached to a car. Alongside a separate photo of Marion Barry

A 1940s photo of a gasifier attached to a car (l). "Mayor for Life" Marion Barry. Photo: Bettmann/Contributor (Getty) and Michael Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

We're still waiting for the "gasifier" to save us, 18 years from Friday after Marion Barry promoted the giant contraption as some sort of magical pollution zapper.

  • Yeah, that sounds weird. In 2005, Barry ā€” along with comedian and activist Dick Gregory ā€” unveiled the machine at a parking lot in Southeast.

Flashback: "The contraption looked like something that would incite a call to 911," the Washington Post wrote. "Metal pipes and wires led to a two-story-tall black metal chimney, which led to more metal pipes that were connected to electric motors and high-tech doodads and dials."

  • Its inventor said it could use waste to create electricity and drinking water.

āš”ļø "This is not a sham," Barry claimed.

Alas, nothing seems to have come of it. Its unveiling was marred when Barry got into a yelling match with Rev. Willie Wilson, who denounced D.C. stationing the machine across from his iconic Union Temple Baptist Church.

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