Imagine that you just got home after a long day. You have a terrible headache and the last thing you want to do is cook a full meal. Fortunately, you have ramen and water so you pop it in the microwave — and zap — dinner is ready!!
Well, thanks to an engineer named Percy Spencer and a melted candy bar, we have this wonderful thing called the microwave!
It all started in 1945. Spencer was an engineer who had been working at an appliance company, Raytheon, for more than 20 years.
Spencer had been conducting radar research using magnetrons (totally casual) when one day he noticed the candy bar in his pocket had melted!!!
What in the world?! Spencer began investigating his discovery. He ran the test again, this time using an egg. The egg exploded.
He did it again with popcorn kernels, and guess what happened next...
It was now clear to Spencer: you can quickly cook food using microwaves!
By 1947, Raytheon had created the first microwave used to cook food. The Radarange was the size of a refrigerator, weighed 750 pounds, and could cost up to $3,000. (That's $24,000 in 2017 dollars!)
It wasn't until 1965 that companies introduced a countertop microwave that was much smaller than the original Radarange. It sold for about $500 ($3,200 today).
As technology advanced and skepticism faded, microwave sales boomed. 40,000 units were sold in 1970, and more than a million sold just five years later! People were believin'!
Today, about 90 percent of American households have a microwave and enjoy the freedom of quickly reheating their leftovers — all thanks to an engineer and a candy bar.
So, the next time you heat up your leftovers, eat some chocolate, too! I imagine that's what Percy Spencer would want you to do.