Standing near the testing site, Dr. Spencer was surprised to see that a candy bar he had in his pocket had suddenly melted! Imagine his surprise! Spurned on by this phenomenon, he decided to investigate further. He experimented with a few kernels of popcorn and then stood by in amazement, as they quickly heated, crackled, and burst!
Dr. Spencer then designed a metal box with an opening into which he fed microwave power. Soon the Raytheon engineers developed a bigger and better "box" based on Dr. Spencer's findings. The larger box was 5-1/2 feet tall and weighed over 750 lbs!
But, since the magnetron tube had to be water-cooled, plumbing was required so the machine was not widely accepted at first. However, after new improvements were made and successful testing was accomplished in a Boston restaurant, many other eateries became interested. The ability to keep products refrigerator-fresh until ready for use was a huge selling point and the market expanded.
The first microwave oven was presented by Raytheon in 1947. It was named the "Radarange," a name selected through an employee contest. Between 1952 - 1955, Tappan introduced the first home model which was priced at a whopping $1295! In 1965 Raytheon obtained Amana Refrigeration and soon after redesigned and sold the microwave oven for just under $500. By 1975, sales of the microwave outsold those of gas ranges. The microwave oven was here to stay!I wonder if that candy bar that Dr. Spencer had in his pocket on the day of testing was an O'Henry Bar?
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