Known as one of the most revolutionary technological concepts that has certainly made its mark in homes all over the world, the microwave oven was actually discovered accidentally. It was initially conceived and used as a part of developing wartime devices and involved a fairly complex design. Now this small electronic oven is inexpensive to product and simple to use; repair is usually not often needed in College Station Texas, making the device an essential part of nearly every household today.
Percy Spencer – Inventor and Master Electrician
Orphaned at a young age and not even having completed his schooling, Percy Spencer was an average child from Maine with exceptional intelligence and a keen interest in machinery. Born in 1894, Spencer was trying to repair broken things from the age of 7 and by 12 had left school to earn a living to help his family survive. At 16, he became one of three people selected by the machine shop where he worked to completely convert the building housing the shop to electricity.
Self-taught and highly skilled, Spencer was very interested in all things mechanical and how they could run on electricity. He soon joined the U.S. Navy to learn wireless telegraphy, eventually ending up in a position with the Raytheon Company after his time in the Navy. Spencer became one of its main researchers, eventually working with this company to mass produce an invention that created microwaves called a magnetron to further develop radar equipment being used during World War II.
From Radar to Cooking
Realizing that the microwaves produced by magnetrons could cook food happened purely by accident; Spencer was observing the testing of radar equipment and had a candy bar in his pocket at the time; he noticed that the candy had melted during the testing. Curious about this surprising effect, Spencer began testing the idea with different foods like popcorn and eggs and was continually surprised and encouraged by the results. After some time, it was realized that the magnetrons worked in the radar equipment and produced microwaves that could heat organic matter as well. At that point, the Raytheon Company realized that Spencer was onto something big and allowed him to continue experimenting, eventually patenting the first microwave oven in 1945.
Microwave Oven Production
The first microwave oven patented and produced by Raytheon appeared to the public in 1946, although it was certainly very different than the modern microwave. Standing close to 6 feet tall, weighing over 750 pounds, and costing close to $5,000, the unit was only used commercially although research did continue. In 1967, a smaller model built for the consumer was introduced by Raytheon and was known as the Amana Radarange. Though larger than modern designs, it was countertop-sized and cost only about $500.
The Microwave Oven – Then and Now
Introducing this new appliance was viewed as such an occasion that Amana even sent home economists to purchaser homes to install the microwave and cook a family’s first meal on the appliance. Cost alone discouraged both manufacturers and consumers; however, other companies eventually produced their own versions which helped prices to drop. Once that happened, families all over the world bought microwave ovens or microwaves as they are now known, making the invention one of the fastest-selling technological ideas ever.
Smaller in size and more powerful today, not a lot has changed with microwave oven technology since the Radarange was introduced. There have been advancements in appliance functionality and additional features such as programming; however, the basic technology has remained the same. Although very basic units are so inexpensive as to be replaced rather than repaired, some of the larger units with more digital functions that are typically built into new or remodeled kitchens are well worth having College Station Texas microwave repair considered if something should stop working. From expensive homes to college dormitories, the microwave oven is truly the best thing to happen accidentally in some time!