In 1860 Augustin Mouchot, a mathematics professor who dabbled in physics, began experimenting with domestic applications for solar energy. In France and Algeria he developed a series of solar generators, which he presented at the 1878 Universal Exhibition. His young partner, Abel Pifre, subsequently bought his patents, perfected the models and improved their performance. In 1882 Pifre conducted a conclusive test in the Tuileries Gardens: his solar generator produced enough steam for a Marinoni press to print a newspaper at the rate of 500 copies an hour. The solar oven on display here is based on the same idea: a silver-plated parabolic mirror or reflector with a cylindrical blackened copper boiler covered by a glass bell in the centre. It is a scale model of one tested in the Conservatory garden in 1880.