Who Invented the Microwave?

One of the fastest, most convenient and easiest ways to cook, the microwave or microwave oven is widely used in many households today. Through dielectric heating, this kitchen appliance can efficiently cook or heat various kinds of food. With the aid of radiation, it is possible to heat polarized molecules as well as water. Aside from its important principles and aspects, it is also good to know the history of this cooking equipment including who invented the microwave.


The Invention of the Microwave

Who invented the microwave? An engineer named Percy Spencer accidentally discovered the use of microwaves to cook food. In happened some time in the 1940s, when he was trying to build radar sets for the commercial electronics manufacturer Raytheon. He noticed that the chocolate bar situated right inside his pocket melted because of the microwaves that were present in the area where he was working. Thereafter, he went on to experiment and tried to cook popcorn. Next, he and his associates tried to cook an egg, which eventually exploded right in the face of one of them.

After that, he and his crew experimented on a metal box, which they fed with microwave power. It became a high-density electromagnetic field, which allowed the food temperature to rise quickly. Raytheon decided to file a patent for Spencer’s invention on October 8, 1945. The kitchen appliance was tested for some time in a restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts. After that, Raytheon decided to build the very first microwave oven called the Radarange.


Additional Facts and Other Interesting Information

The earlier models of the microwave were big and quite expensive. A basic unit usually measured 1.8 meters or 6 feet tall. Meanwhile, the approximate weight of every product was 340 kilograms or 750 pounds. Furthermore, the price is quite expensive at $5,000 each. In terms of consumption, the earlier form of the microwave consumed approximately three times more electricity compared to present-day models.

In 1952, Raytheon decided to license such innovative technology to the company named Tappan Stove. In 1965, Raytheon decided to acquire Amana, a company that released the countertop Radarange. The cost for the popular home model during that time was $495. In 1986, about 25 percent of U.S. households made use of microwave ovens. In recent years, reports are saying that more or less 90 percent of houses in the United States use microwaves.

In terms of design, each microwave oven is comprised of a cooking chamber, a waveguide and a magnetron control circuit. Likewise, it must also have a cavity magnetron as well as a high voltage transformer.