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George Lof

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Last updated: 16 March 2011      
The article below is about a solar cooking promoter who is now deceased. This information is maintained here as a tribute to the important work done by this person.
George Lof photo

George Löf, deceased, created two of the first active system solar-heated homes in America. He was a former director of the Industrial Research Institute at the University of Denver, Colorado, and an early pioneer of solar-powered techonolgy, including solar cooking. A voluble apostle for all things sun-powered, he conducted his first experiments with solar-power homes during World War II. Born in 1913 in Aspen, Colorado, USA, when it was still a mining town, Mr. Löf was the son of a country doctor who had emigrated from Sweden. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Denver and earned a doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

George Lof Unbroiler

The Umbroiler parabolic solar cooker, in use with his daughter, Linnea, in 1955.

While Mr. Löf focused primarily on home heating, he sought to develop other applications for his research, including, most notably, a solar cooker. Crafted during the 1950's from metallized plastic sheeting, and shaped like an umbrella, his solar cooker's precise parabolic form focused the sun's rays, creating enough heat to broil a steak. Mr. Löf joked that it would cook in the sunshine, and act as an umbrella in the rain. But the Umbroiler, as he dubbed it, was a commercial failure for the times. He worked on other solar cookers that were distributed in developing countries by Unesco. He also patented a system for using solar heat to distill freshwater from seawater.

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