If you have a family, you likely depend on your microwave quite often. We would urge you to try to go one month without using your microwave to heat your food and likely you will find that it can be quite difficult. This is because it has become such a staple of our everyday kitchen activities that we hardly notice how often we use it. Today we thought we’d take a moment to look back at how the microwave oven came about and how it changed the kitchen forever.
A New Technology Emerges in the Midst of War
Nobody denies that World War II had horrific effects across all nations that took part. Millions of people, civilians and military, died in the fight and the battles that happened across Europe and the Pacific. Yet, because of the fervor of war and the urge the Allies to defeat the Axis powers, the rate of innovation and invention really accelerated. And it was around this time that various technologies took off including those in aviation, navigation systems, bomb-making and a dozen of other industries that benefited from military intelligence and invention. One of these such technologies was the one that gave birth to the microwave oven.
As the war came to an end, the magnetron tubes that were used for short-range radars seemed to be at a loss for purpose. Companies like Raytheon—still today’s one of the leading military technology companies—were eager to find another use for this particular innovation. Many other companies including Bell Labs, General Electric, and RCA had also been experimenting with the use of radio waves to heat food. Legend has it that Raytheon engineer, Percy Spencer, took it to the next level as he began testing this. According to the story, he discovered it by accident, although other accounts say that it was very much a trial and error process that led, eventually, to him trying it out with popcorn and discovering the possibilities much more clearly. It was in 1946, that he filed for patents on the use of microwaves for cooking food.
The First Microwave Ovens
The first commercial microwave ovens called the Radarange microwave, unveiled by the company were designed for restaurants and commercial use. They were pretty massive and expensive appliances. Eventually, other companies licensed the technology and worked on creating the microwaves for consumer use. The first consumer microwaves, however, ran close to 1,295 dollars. In 1967, Raytheon acquired Amana Refrigeration and the first Amana Radaranges began showing up in common household counter tops. It was really in the 1970s, however, that this creature comfort really hit every household and took off yet, they were still declared somewhat unsafe and were regarded as many as a hazard or potentially dangerous.
The Regulation and Popularization of the Microwave Oven
It was then that the FDA and government regulators stepped in to collect data, research, and set standards in order to ensure the safety of every one of the units. So it was around the 1980s that the microwave oven started hitting the mainstream, entered popular culture, and became a standard and staple in every home, even making it into movies and television programs.
Today the microwave oven is indispensable. We know how much you love them! Of course, today’s units are far more advanced, safer, work better, faster, and have a variety of settings and wattages that were not possible before. Here at Gorman, we carry the top brands of microwave ovens and make sure to carry the highest quality of engineered brands. Call us today to see how we can enhance your kitchen experience.