On December 6th, National Microwave Oven Day honors one appliance that changed how we use the kitchen. What do you “microwave” most often?

Quite by accident, self-taught American engineer Percy Spencer discovered a way to heat food safely with microwaves. While working with an active radar in 1945, he noticed a melting chocolate bar in his pocket. The high-powered microwave beams created a heating effect ideal for cooking. Spencer deliberately attempted cooking popcorn with the microwaves. Next, he tried cooking an egg. Both the popcorn and the egg created dramatic results. However, the popcorn resulted in success, unlike the egg. The egg exploded in his fellow engineer’s face! However, we can cook eggs in microwave ovens. Try poaching one.

Spencer, employed by Raytheon, continued experimenting with different methods of heating food safely with microwaves.

Raytheon filed a United States patent application for Spencer’s microwave cooking process on October 8th, 1945.

In 1947, Raytheon built the first commercially available microwave oven. It was called the “Radarange.” An estimated 90% of homes in the United States now have a microwave in them… guess we’re in the 10%!