Microwaves now have become such a mainstream in every homeowner’s house. These little square heating machine is very handy and can quickly stop your stomach from rumbling. You know the drill, leftovers are placed on the microwave-safe plate and put into the compartment, simply hit a few buttons and voila! A few minutes later, it’s warm and is ready to eat. But do you ever wonder about the history of microwave? When was the microwave invented? Who actually came up with such a brilliant idea to make food quickly by heating it up? Scroll down to find out!
When it came into being
The genius who came up with this brilliant concept was Percy Spencer. Did you know that his invention was not intentional? Turns out it was all a mere accident during his time when he was working for a company called Raytheon and working on a microwave radar transmitter during WWII.
But when was the microwave invented? The exact year of its official invention was in 1946 but the history can be traced back to a year before. In 1945, he noticed that the candy bar inside his pocket was beginning to melt. He soon realised that it was all because of the microwaves from the radar set he was working on that were accidentally cooking the candy in the pocket. Then, one little experimentation later, he finally figured out that the microwaves could be useful to heat food. When he created the first working microwave oven, popcorn was the first food he cooked. He then tried cooking an egg but it promptly exploded.
The Raytheon Company immediately invested heavily in creating the first commercial microwave. The first name ever used to refer to microwaves was Radarange. However, it was very powerful. As stipulated in the manual, the unit only took 12 seconds to fry an egg. Moreover, the first Radarange was actually the size of a fridge for it stood almost six feet tall. It was pretty bulky weighing over 320 kilos which is the equivalent of 700 pounds. What’s more baffling is that it was ridiculously expensive as well, one could get their hands on Radarange in exchange of $ 3,000!
How does it work?
To put it simply, the energy of the microwave is like rubbing our hands together, but in terms of microwaves, as stated by Norman Krim, a former vice president at Raytheon, they rub molecules of food together for they are vibrating over three thousand million times per second. Microwaves are absorbed by fats, water and sugars where they are converted to heat immediately. The microwaves also penetrate food pretty quickly which is the reason why they can cook food quickly and evenly. Thankfully, microwaves are not absorbed by most glass, plastics and ceramics for this is such a convenient because they can heat food without heating everything else around.
Twenty years after its first invention, the company finally developed a microwave that resembled to today’s microwave. This one was much more affordable too, which was only $500. It was, as expected, heavily marketed to women. By the end of the 70s, more than 30% of American households had one.
Today, microwaves are found in millions of kitchens. They are also found in convenience stores as well. Now, you know when the microwave was invented and why it is so popular!