The History of Microwave Oven


Microwave ovens or people usually called just microwaves, is one of the items you should have in your kitchen. It will help your meal preparation or just snack time and make it easier and quicker. But did you know the unique history of its invention? Spoiler alert, it was actually invented by accident. Here is the history of the microwave oven.

When Was It Invented?

The microwave oven was invented by a self-taught American engineer named Percy Spencer, and he filed the patent for his invention in 1945. The story behind this invention is quite unique since Spencer wasn’t trying to make a cooking appliance, but a live radar to help his country fight World War II.

While working on his live radar which was emitting microwave signals, Spencer realized that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. Spencer got curious and then found out that the radar’s tube of compact cavity magnetron was responsible for melting his chocolate bar.

After that, Spencer experimented with his new inadvertent invention and started to try to heat other food like popcorn and eggs. He then also added a metal box in order to contain the microwaves. He then also added a door, and the earliest rough model of a microwave oven was born.

When Did It Become Popular?

Even though it was invented in 1945, the microwave oven was very expensive to make, and the size was too big. Back then, a microwave oven weighed over 750 pounds and cost almost $5,000.  Because of that, regular households couldn’t afford it and it was only being sold to commercial establishments like ship galleys, hotels or restaurants. 

The much smaller and affordable models started being sold in 1967 for only under $500. Three years later, the advancements of technologies created cheaper parts, and making the microwave ovens were even more affordable to regular households. In 1986, only around 25 percent of American households owned a microwave, and by 1997, that number skyrocketed to around 90 percent.

For some people, a microwave oven is an item that has to be in the kitchen. This is because a microwave would really help you save some time and energy from preparing food. It could also help people who are not good or interested in cooking since they could just buy frozen food and then easily cook it in the microwave. 

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