The father of the cooking box
The originator of the solar cooker in box-form is considered to be Nicholas de Saussure (1767-1845), the founder of plant physiology. However, it was only in the 1970s that solar cookers really became popular in significant numbers. Eduard Probst, a retired carpenter from Hölstein in Switzerland, began building solar cookers in the year 1983. The first "cooking boxes" were made of wood, window glass, discarded offset plates and insulation material.
Over time, improved insulation and the optimisation of the deployed materials has resulted in solar cookers which are capable of reaching temperatures of up to 170°C. Careful account was also taken of the climate, cooking customs and the materials available in the various regions where the devices are deployed. This means that a variety of models were developed during the course of the 1980s which have now stood the test of time.
Between 1984 and 1998 Eduard Probst travelled to South Africa, Kenya, Togo, Uzbekistan and Peru in order to demonstrate how to make and use the solar cookers.