Sun Ovens were developed in 1986 by Tom Burns, a retired restaurateur from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who was very active with Rotary International. From his experience in operating restaurants he knew a great deal about cooking and from his international travel he became aware of the ever-growing problem of deforestation. Tom took a concept that has been around for centuries and engineered into it more recently developed materials to produce the world's most effective solar cooking devices. With the help of the Sandia National Laboratories the oven was refined.
The Sun Oven is often compared with box cookers made out of aluminum foil and cardboard (homemade boxes of various sizes and shapes). While the energy conversion principles are the same, the materials utilized in manufacturing Sun Ovens have been carefully researched to include the most efficient materials available. In order to capture the maximum amount of energy, achieve the highest possible temperature, and retain the greatest amount of heat, while minimizing the weight, the materials utilized have been selected based on efficiency and quality. Sun Ovens International is determined to disseminate solar appliances that truly meet people’s needs rather than distributing perpetuating cookers that work only under the most ideal conditions.