Microwaves: Then, Now, and the Future

Essay by MaNwOoTHigh School, 12th gradeA+, February 2006

download word file, 2 pages 3.7

Downloaded 31 times

Microwave ovens were once though of as evil and cancer causing. That view has changed dramatically as the microwave went from an experiment, to what we know today, and will continue to advance years into the future. The purpose of this paper is to give some insight into the past, present, and future of the little box that cooks our food oh-so-quickly - the microwave oven.

The technology used in making the first microwave was accidentally discovered in 1945 by a man named Dr. Percy Spencer. Spencer was working with a vacuum tube, known as the magnetron. During the experiments with the magnetron, Spencer came to find his chocolate bar in his pants pocket had melted mysteriously. An interested Spencer decided to do another experiment involving setting un-popped kernels of popcorn near the tube and to his delight the corn started popping and flying all over his desk.

Thus, the first microwave used for food purposes was born.

It wasn't until 1947 that scientists had taken Spencer's research and actually made the first operational microwave oven. It consisted of a metal container where the food was placed for cooking. Microwave power was sent through the metal box and the waves bounced and ricocheted off of the metallic walls forcing the microwaves to go to the food. The waves then cooked the water molecules within the food making the entire portion rather hot. At this point, however, microwave ovens were still not practical to use. This first model developed stood roughly 5.5 feet tall, weighed nearly 750 lbs., and cost around $5000 to produce. Even though it wasn't all that popular, the first microwave oven still revolutionized the way American's ate. The technological advances that were happening rather quickly also led to the event that no one thought...