The microwave oven is one of the most brilliant inventions of human race. Not only is it used to heat food, it can also be used for cooking, baking, thawing and even boiling water. No household appliance is more versatile than this little dynamo.
But who invented this great product?
Like many great products in history, the microwave oven is also a product of past technologies. In 1946, Dr. Percy Spencer, an engineer at the Raytheon Corporation, led a radar-related research project. Dr. Spencer noticed something unusual when he was supervising the project. While testing a new vacuum tube called a magnetron, he realized that the candy bar in his pocket melted.
Stunned by the prospect, he began to study the phenomenon and conducted other experiments. One experiment involved putting popcorn kernels near the tube. Standing far away, he saw the popcorn sputtered, cracked and popped all over his laboratory.
Another experiment that he conducted involved an egg, which he placed near the magnetron tube. That time, he asked his college to accompany him so that they can both see the phenomena.
Because of the tremendous pressure, the egg began to tremor. The temperature inside the egg got so high that the egg exploded. Hot yolk splattered all over his colleagues face. Because of these results, they realized that they can cook other foods using the low-density microwave energy.
Dr. Spencer then fashioned a metal box. The opening of this box is directly connected to the microwave power. Since the power can not escape the box, the result is an energy that is closeted in a space. When Dr. Spencer put food inside the box, the temperature rose quickly, cooking the food in an instant. That was the first time that food was cooked using the microwave technology.
Food engineers went to work on the microwave idea and refined it further. In 1946, the Raytheon Company filed a patent proposing the use of microwaves to cook food. An over, similar to what Dr. Spencer created, only refined was placed in a Boston restaurant for testing. It turned out to be a success.
So in 1947, the first microwave oven was introduced commercially. The first units were all big, about six feet tall and weighing 750 pounds. They were ultra expensive, costing 5,000 dollars each but well, with such great technology, what is a few thousands.
Back then, the ovens had to be watercooled, so the company also had to install some kind of plumbing materials.