Over 90% of households in the United States owned a microwave from 1997according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And it’s not just the United States. The device is a go-to for a quick bite for many people around the world. According to the Microwave Technology Association, more than 30 million microwaves are sold worldwide every year.
Many inventions are the result of a race to create a product with a certain function, but did you know that the microwave was invented entirely by accident?
Just curious? We are here to answer your daily questions
When was the microwave invented?
The microwave was invented in 1945 by Raytheon engineer Percy Spencer, as evidenced by his patent for a “Food processing method”.
But Spencer wasn’t looking for food-related inventions. As an employee of defense technology company Raytheon, Spencer only made the connection to food when a radar magnetron accidentally melted a cluster of nuts which he kept in his pocket to feed the squirrels, according to The Sun.
According to Popular Mechanics, Spencer and his team then tested the machine using an egg, which exploded, and popcorn kernels, which popped, before filing a patent application for the device.
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When was the microwave first used in homes?
In 1947, Raytheon introduced the “Radarange”, the first commercially available microwave oven. According to Raytheon, they costs between $2,000 and $3,000 and were stored in refrigerator-sized cabinets.
How do microwaves work?
According to the FDA, these devices heat food using microwave radiationan electromagnetic waveform that can be produced by a magnetron.
The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that these waves can only heat particles near the outside of a food. The centers of your microwaveable products only heat through conductive heat transfer.
Are microwaves safe?
According to WebMD, microwave radiation is non-ionizing radiationmeaning the device will not cause cancer or other concerning medical conditions.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: When was the microwave invented? How it was created and how it works.