Charles Hatfield sold rain and became “lord of the skies”

In the early 20th century, when America’s agriculture was completely dependent on rain, one man decided to turn that dependence into his own business. Charles Hatfield became known as the “rain lord,” selling artificial precipitation to farmers who needed it to survive.

The idea of artificially inducing rain was not a new one. Already in the late nineteenth century, other people had tried various methods to do so. But Hatfield was the first to create a sustainable and profitable business from it.

The beginning of his career

At the beginning of his career, Hatfield was a simple sewing machine salesman. However, his interest in meteorology and his desire to find a way to cause rain led him to create his unique business. He studied chemistry, physics, and conducted experiments until he found the right mixture of 23 chemicals that he believed could cause precipitation.

Early successes

In 1904, Hatfield decided to turn his occupation into a commercial venture. He placed an ad in California newspapers, offering to provide rain for $50. Several farmers responded to his offer, and Hatfield traveled with his brother Paul to the site where rainfall was needed.

They built a tower and sprayed their chemical mixture. And two days later, the heavens opened and the rain poured down. The farmers were delighted and rewarded the “rain masters” generously.

Business is booming

Word of Hatfield and his ability to make it rain quickly spread. Orders began coming in from all corners of California. He contracted with the Los Angeles City Council, promising to deliver rain when needed. And despite weather forecasters’ predictions of no rain, Hatfield was once again able to cause precipitation.

He became known as the “rain lord” and his services were highly sought after. However, not everyone was convinced of his abilities. Some scientists and meteorologists considered his work a fraud and doubted the effectiveness of his methods.

End of career

In 1916, Hatfield faced serious consequences for his work. During one of his experiments, a flood occurred that killed several people and caused extensive damage to the environment. Hatfield was accused of being involved in this disaster and his business closed.

Since then, artificially inducing rain has become banned in many countries because its potential effects can be dangerous. However, the idea of using technology to control the weather has not disappeared. There are now various techniques such as cloud amplification or aerosol deposition that are used to alter the weather in some cases.

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