Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Solar Oven by Augustin Mouchot, presented at the Expo 1878 Paris

The Device Mouchot (Le Monde Illustré 1878)

We know that the first attempt to use the sun's rays goes back to Archimedes who, 300 years before our era, used glowing mirrors to burn down the Roman vessels besieging Syracuse, and that this question was of great concern to the alchemists and physicists of the Middle Ages.

The first attempts to obtain an industrial result are due to a Frenchman, Salomon de Caus, whose work was brought to light on the occasion of the beautiful discovery of the properties of the steam; but the state of science did not allow him to benefit from his idea. It was necessary that the learned researches of Ducarla, de Saussure, Mariotte, Melloni, Pouillet, should enlighten the question so that it could be resolved with the simplicity which characterizes it today.

"A funnel and a glass of lamp," said Mr. Abel Pifre lately in a very marked lecture on the direct use of solar heat, "that's the whole thing," and in fact there is nothing else in the small models; for the big ones, the proportions are changed, nothing more.

By means of a simple mechanism and a child can maneuver, the solar generator is oriented in the direction of the sun. Its rays arrive parallel to the surface of the reflector. They are normally reflected on the glass envelope. They pass through it without difficulty, for the glass perfectly lets the light rays pass; but as soon as they have leaned it, meeting the blackened boiler which is in the axis of the reflector, they are transformed into obscure heat and remain prisoners in the glass enclosure, now impenetrable for them. All the artifice is there.

The results obtained in the Paris sun are already surprising. How much more will they be in hot countries, where the raising of water for agriculture, the calefaction of wine, the distillation of alcoholic substances and flowers, and the making of ice cream, will definitely open a new era of wealth and civilization.

It will be an honor for France to have equipped humanity with a new industrial machine and to have acquired a new title of recognition of posterity.
Mollot (Le Monde Illustré)

Augustin-Bernard Mouchot, born April 7, 1825 and died October 4, 1912 is a French engineer and teacher. He is best known for his work on solar energy.
He invents his first solar engine in 1866. Thanks to a subsidy obtained in 1871, he builds a solar oven of 4m ² which he presents to the Academy of Sciences at the end of 1875. Having obtained a new subsidy in 1877, he manufactures a new apparatus of 20m ² to be presented at the World Fair of 1878 in Paris. He will receive a gold medal.

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