Microwave ovens

Percy L. SpencerPercy L. Spencer

Microwave ovens

Household appliances in the 20th century have eliminated much of the everyday labour of food preparation, and one innovation fuelled by chemical advances was the microwave oven.

In 1945, Percy L. Spencer was reportedly standing near an operating radar transmitter at Raytheon when a candy bar in his pocket began to melt. Fascinated, he replicated this experience with popcorn, and the microwave oven was born.


There was a strong demand for household microwave ovensThere was a strong demand for household microwave ovens

His Radarange debuted in industrial kitchens later that decade. Today, World War II-type microwave transmitters, called magnetrons, still form the heart of this popular appliance.

Did you know?

Microwave ovens are very efficient because microwave radiation is used to heat polarized molecules within the food. The water molecules in the food rotate as they try to align themselves with the alternating electric field of the 2450 MHz frequency microwaves. This molecular movement represents heat, which is then dispersed as the rotating molecules hit other molecules and put them into motion.