The Story Behind the Microwave

The Story Behind the Microwave
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Percy Spencer, an engineer working for American defense contractor Raytheon, accidently discovered a new use for radar technology in the mid-1940s. While standing near an active magnetron, which is a vacuum tube that generates microwave radio signals, he noticed that the candy bar in his pocket had melted. After several successful experiments popping popcorn kernels and exploding a whole egg, Spencer built the first microwave oven, which was a rudimentary metal box with a magnetron inside, to heat lunches.

Raytheon patented the dielectric heating device, naming it the Radarange, and in 1947 the first commercially available microwave oven hit the market. What started as an 800-pound device priced between two and three thousand dollars and mainly used for commercial purposes became modified over the years into a more affordable $495 countertop model released by Raytheon-acquired Amana Corporation in 1967. Americans rapidly discovered the convenience of quick cooking, and now more than 90% of households have a microwave.

Check out the slideshow above to discover what you should never nuke and more fun facts.