You are running late for work and barely have any time to fix yourself an elaborate breakfast. So what do you do? Just grab a frozen breakfast sandwich or burrito, pop it in the microwave and voila, you are good to go for the day! The advent of microwave oven has indeed revolutionized the way we cook, bake and grill our food today and is rightly hailed as one the greatest inventions of the 20th century. However, you will be surprised to know that the emergence of microwave was not the result of trying to find out a better and faster way of cooking, but instead a sheer fluke. The history of the microwave oven extends back to the year 1946, when Dr. Percy Spencer, an engineer at the Raytheon chanced to invent it, unexpectedly. While working with radar, Dr. Spencer observed that a candy in his pocket had thawed. This took him by great surprise and he decided to conduct a few more experiments, using popcorn and eggs that led him to the groundbreaking breakthrough on how microwave energy can be used to cook food. To know more on the origin and background of microwave oven, read on.
Interesting & Amazing Information On Origin & Background Of Microwave Oven
It is surprising, but true that microwave oven was the upshot of an accident and not ingenuity! Prior to the invention, microwave energies were purely used to detect Nazi warplanes by British bombers during World War II. However, a chance discovery brought to the awareness that microwave energy could also be used to do something as simple as cooking as well. The idea of using this form of energy to cook food was accidentally discovered by Percy LeBaron Spencer of the Raytheon Company. While carrying on with an experiment with radar, he discovered that a candy in his pocket had melted. This intrigued the scientist, who carried on further researches to prove that microwave heating could raise the internal temperature of many foods far more rapidly than a conventional oven.
Dr. Spencer initially came up with a metal box that had a small opening that was meant to supply it with microwave energy. As the box was a closed one, the electromagnetic energy was throttled to a limited area, which led to a sharp rise in temperature inside the metal box. Thus, when any food was kept inside the box, it cooked faster and more easily than when kept in the conventional oven. The first Raytheon commercial microwave oven, the 1161 Radarange, was released in the year 1954. This microwave oven was almost as big as a refrigerator. Due to its large size and steep price, its use was limited to hotels and institutions alone. The first microwave oven was used in a Boston restaurant and was tested successfully. It was only in 1967, that the first domestic microwave oven, fitted for kitchen use was introduced.
It, however, took some time for the microwave oven to gain grounds in the market, its enormous size and big price tag winning it poor reviews. Nonetheless, with the changing designs and technology in the next few years, people started using microwave ovens. The food industry started exploring different methods of using it, to realize its full potential. The countertop microwaves hit the market in the 1960s. One of the major hitches with microwaves was their uneven heating. However, Spencer and his colleague carried out more experiments to amend the internal cavity of the oven successfully. With time, the popularity of microwave shot up, more so after the people realized and accepted its potential and versatility in their kitchen.
Microwaves were extensively used to dry potato chips, defrost, precook and temper meat, cook oyster and even dry leather, paper, ceramics and other multipurpose needs. The microwave oven had become a necessity in every home and the possibility of it becoming more and more popular just seemed endless. Over the years, the technological growth led to the advancement in microwave oven, with it becoming more and more kitchen friendly, as microwave stepped-up the counter tops to suit every taste. Today, microwave is available in almost every fathomable size, shape and color, and comes with innumerable user-friendly features. The latest microwaves boast of convection heat and probe and sensor cooking and are virtually suited to meet the needs of cooking, heating and even drying.