History of Solar Cooking Episode 1

Many people think that solar cooking is a modern day technique… au contraire!!  Solar cooking has been around almost as long as the sun.  In the following short series of info-clips provided by the solar cooking industry and some of our fine solar cooker competitors you will learn that serious solar cooking has been around for hundreds of years.  Read and enjoy!!

Solar Zenith Team

Episode 1


In the late 1700′s, experiments with glass and trapped solar heat by French-Swiss naturalist Horace deSaussure lay the foundation for not only solar cooking but also for passive solar heating of buildings and active heating of water by use of solar collector boxes. Le Journal de Paris received from deSaussure descriptions of experiments and observations.
1200s – Many countries produced sun-dried fruits, vegetables, fish and meats for eight centuries to preserve them.

1600s– A German physicist, E.W. von Tschirnhousen, made large lenses to boil water in a clay pot. This was first reported in the first-published study of solar cookers in 1767 by French-Swiss scientist Horace de Saussure (Halacy, p. 3)
1767– Saussure’s was the first recorded effort to solar cook food. He built a miniature greenhouse with 5 layers of glass boxes turned upside down on a black table and reported cooking fruit. He later built a cooker of 2 pine boxes topped with 3 layers of glass, and later still added wool insulation between the two boxes. He predicted, “Someday some usefulness might be drawn from this device …(for it) is actually quite small, inexpensive, (and) easy to make” (Saussure, pp 55,59). French contemporary, DuCarlu, added mirrors and reported cooking meat in one hour (Halacy, 1992, p. 3).