Solar Oven

Charles Greeley Abbot (1872–1973), the second director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and the fifth secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, spent his scientific career measuring the intensity of solar radiation and seeking to correlate solar changes with weather conditions on the earth. He was also interested in the practical use of solar radiation. This cooker, which he built in 1940, uses a cylindrical aluminum mirror that is mounted parallel to the earth's axis to collect solar energy and focus it on a pyrex tube that is filled with a chlorinated benzene ("arochlor"); the energy is then transmitted to a square oven in which cakes and cookies could be baked. Abbot obtained a patent (#2,247,830) on this cooker in 1941.
Object Name
solar oven
Date made
Abbot, Charles Greeley
Abbot, Charles Greeley
mirror: 20 in; 50.8 cm
overall: 37 1/2 in x 17 1/4 in x 34 in; 95.25 cm x 43.815 cm x 86.36 cm
inner oven: 2 1/4 in x 3 in x 3 3/8 in; 5.715 cm x 7.62 cm x 8.5725 cm
aluminum pan: 1 in x 2 7/8 in x 2 1/2 in; 2.54 cm x 7.3025 cm x 6.35 cm
ID Number
catalog number
patent number
accession number
Natural Resources
Energy & Power
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Physical Sciences
History Highlights: Solar on the Line
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
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