microwave oven history by VongKeovessna


									           Fascinating facts about the invention
   of the microwave oven by Percy Spencer in 1945.   MICROWAVE OVEN
The microwave oven did not come about as a result of someone trying to find a better,
faster way to cook. During World War II, two scientists invented the magnetron, a tube
that produces microwaves. Installing magnetrons in Britain’s radar system, the
microwaves were able to spot Nazi warplanes on their way to bomb the British Isles.

By accident, several years later, it was discovered that microwaves also cook food.
Called the Radar Range, the first microwave oven to go on the market was roughly as
large and heavy as a refrigerator.

The idea of using microwave energy to cook food was accidentally discovered by Percy
LeBaron Spencer of the Raytheon Company when he found that radar waves had
melted a candy bar in his pocket. Experiments showed that microwave heating could
raise the internal temperature of many foods far more rapidly than a conventional oven.

                        The first Raytheon commercial microwave oven was the 1161
Radarange, which was marketed in 1954. Rated at 1600 watts, it was so large and
expensive that it was practical only for restaurant and institutional use.

In 1967, Amana, a division of Raytheon, introduced its domestic Radarange microwave
oven, marking the beginning of the use of microwave ovens in home kitchens. Although
sales were slow during the first few years, partially due to the oven’s relatively
expensive price tag, the concept of quick microwave cooking had arrived. In succeeding
years, Litton and a number of other companies joined the countertop microwave oven
market. By the end of 1971, the price of countertop units began to decrease and their
capabilities were expanded.

All electromagnetic energy can be characterized as waves with a specific wavelength
and frequency distributed over a continuous range known as the electromagnetic
spectrum. For example, some radio waves have a wavelength of 6 feet (12 meters) and
a frequency of 50 million hertz (Hz-cycles per second). Visible light waves have a
wavelength of 400 to 700 millimicrons, and typical X-rays have a length of 0.01
millimicrons and a frequency of 30 x 10¹² millions.

Microwaves (short waves or high frequency radio waves) are the shortest of radio
waves, with a length of 0.1 millimeter and a frequency of 3 x 109 Hz. They are found in
the non-ionizing portion of the energy spectrum, between radio waves and visible light.
"Non-ionizing" means that microwaves do not detach charged particles and produce
atoms with an unbalanced plus or minus charge. Microwaves can therefore safely
produce heat and not cause food to become radioactive.
Microwaves are reflected from most metals but they produce inductive resonance's in
the atoms of many other substances. It was the discovery of their reaction to metals
that led to the invention of radar. It was their ability to produce resonant coupling that
led to the invention of the microwave oven.

Microwave ovens are generally used for time efficiency in both commercial applications, such as
restaurants, in the office and at home, rather than for cooking quality, although some modern
recipes using microwave ovens rival recipes using traditional ovens and stoves. Professional
chefs generally find microwave ovens to be of limited usefulness because browning,
caramelization, and other flavour-enhancing reactions cannot occur due to the temperature
range.[11] On the other hand, people who want fast cooking times can use microwave ovens to
prepare food or to reheat stored food (including commercially available pre-cooked frozen dishes)
in only a few minutes. Microwave Ovens can also be used to defrost items that will later be
cooked by traditional methods, cutting the time it takes to defrost foods naturally. Microwave
ovens are also useful for the ease in which they can perform some traditionally cumbersome
kitchen tasks, such as softening butter or melting chocolate.

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