Solar oven

Augustin Mouchot, Abel PifreCirca 1880

Musée des arts et métiers

Musée des arts et métiers
Paris, France

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.


  • Title: Solar oven
  • Creator: Augustin Mouchot, Abel Pifre
  • Date: Vers 1880
  • Date Created: Circa 1880
  • Location: France
  • Physical Dimensions: Scale model 1/3
  • Provenance: Musée des arts et métiers
  • Subject Keywords: Vapeur / Énergie solaire
  • Type: Argent, cuivre, fonte, laiton, verre
  • Contributor: Author : Sandra Delaunay
  • Inventory number: Inv. 09518
  • Credits: © Musée des arts et métiers-Cnam/photo Michèle Favareille

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps