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.
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.