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A Brief History of the Microwave Oven

A Brief History of the Microwave Oven

Many homes would be lost without a microwave oven. Lowes has a superb selection of microwave ovens and with a Lowes Money Saving Coupon from  We Are Coupons you can save money on your new microwave oven.  But what is the history of a microwave oven.

Accident or Invention

In 1945, Percy Spencer was working on Radar Tube Design and was one of the leading experts.  During his work with microwaves he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket was melting. He tried exposing popcorn and eggs to the same microwaves and noticed they too cooked. He decided to place the powerful electromagnet inside a metal box and he realised he could control the microwaves.  Accidentally he had invented a device that would one day change the way the word cooks.

Patented in 1945

Most people would be quite right to think that the microwave oven is a recent invention. The fact is that it is an old invention and Percy Spencer patented in in October 1945.The device was used in a Boston restaurant for testing and iron out the kinks in the machine.  It took 2 years for the microwave to be offered commercially.  In 1947 the first commercial microwave oven was used in a vending machine selling warm hotdogs.  The machine cost a staggering $5,000 or $52,000 in today’s prices.


In the 1950s the microwave oven was growing in popularity in commercial kitchens and prices began to drop. Prices were still out of reach of the general public and the machines still cost between $2,000 and $3,000.  Prices remained high and microwave ovens were expressly used in commercial kitchens, restaurants and hotels. Only the rich and famous could afford them.

1960s and today

It wasn’t until the mid 1960s that Microwave  ovens saw a drop in price.  In the late 50s a microwave cost $1,000 and by the end of the 1960s they would cost less than $500. This was still expensive at the time but as the cost of manufacture dropped so the prices lowered. By the 1980s, microwave oven became affordable and more homes began to have them. They were still a luxury item but they were soon becoming a must have.


Microwave ovens today are very affordable and have almost become disposable. Students love them and the microwave has come to epitomze the life of slobbery.  But microwave ovens are the absolute height of convenience and a home without one of considered lacking something. Today microwaves are used for everything and it is hard to think the machines are close to 80 years old!

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