National Microwave Oven Day takes place every year on December 6 to celebrate one of the most influential kitchen appliances. Microwave ovens serve a variety of uses, such as making popcorn, heating leftovers, melting chocolate and butter, and even heating water. These days, you can even make microwave fudge or cake! Microwave ovens also use less energy than conventional ovens, sometimes up to 80% less. There’s no doubt that microwave ovens change our lives for the better. So, it’s no surprise that we have a day dedicated to celebrating the microwave’s usefulness.
History of National Microwave Oven Day
Percy Spencer, a self-taught American engineer, developed a means to prepare food with microwaves safely. In 1945, he realized a candy bar in his pocket was melting while working with active radar. Amazed by his discovery, Spencer set out to make popcorn in the microwaves. He then attempted to cook an egg. The egg test performed far worse than the popcorn test, and blew up in his coworker’s face! Nowadays we know that we can use microwave ovens to cook or even poach eggs.
Spencer, who worked at Raytheon, experimented with numerous ways to cook food with microwaves safely. He discovered that he could direct the magnetron’s power into a metal box and trap it there. He also noted that food placed in the box quickly heated up. Raytheon submitted a patent for a microwave oven on October 8, 1945. Raytheon introduced the Radarange microwave in 1947, which stood nearly 6 feet tall and cost $5,000. In 1955, Raytheon outsourced its patents to Tappan, which launched a microwave that still wasn’t applicable for domestic use, and cost $1,295 at the time. Raytheon bought Amana in 1965 and released a countertop microwave for $495 in 1967. Shortly after, Litton invented a microwave oven with a design similar to those used today, which helped promote home microwaves even more. In the United States, there were around 40,000 microwaves in use in 1971, rising to one million by 1975.
Although some early models leaked, giving them a negative reputation, their popularity grew. Recipes for microwavable meals were abundant throughout the 1980s, as were consumer goods like cupcake kits but the majority of these items were of poor quality. Nonetheless, by 1986, around 25% of American households owned a microwave, and by 1997, that figure had climbed to 90%.
National Microwave Oven Day timeline
Percy Spencer discovers how to heat food using microwaves.
Raytheon produces the Radarange microwave standing at about 6 feet.
The first domestic microwave oven is introduced.
Raytheon acquires Amana and produces the countertop microwave for $495.
National Microwave Oven Day FAQs
Is it safe to use old microwaves?
If you properly maintain the microwave, you shouldn’t have any problems using it even if it’s old. However, if it has been damaged, you should get it checked.
What happens if your microwave is leaking radiation?
Microwave radiation can cause cataracts in the eye, temporary sterility, and skin burns. You might want to buy a microwave leakage tester to be on the safe side.
What was the microwave originally made for?
Although the original microwave oven was perfect for quick snacks, it was actually intended for restaurant use and to reheat meals on airplanes.
How to Celebrate National Microwave Oven Day
Make meals with your microwave
Reheat your leftovers or make meals from scratch with your microwave oven. Give your appliance a special status in your life today!
Buy a microwave oven
Don’t have a microwave oven? Or do you need an upgrade? Today is the perfect day to make that purchase and welcome your new favorite appliance into the fold.
The holidays and all the fine dining that comes with it are just around the corner. Why not melt chocolate in the microwave to prepare for the dipping frenzy?
5 Facts About Microwaves That Will Blow Your Mind
Microwaves in space
Both Jupiter and the Sun emit microwaves.
Microwaves are multipurpose machines
You can even use a microwave to remove labels from jars.
Spinach retains virtually all the folate in it when cooked in a microwave and loses about 77% when cooked on a traditional stove.
Sealed containers or foods such as eggs or squash can explode when heated in a microwave oven because of the pressure build-up.
Who needs a stove?
Amazon currently has over 3,800 microwave cookbooks on sale.
Why We Love National Microwave Oven Day
With a microwave, you never have to wait too long to enjoy your meal. Microwaves can cook faster than traditional ovens and make less of a mess.
Leftovers never go to waste
Microwave ovens take the stress out of reheating leftovers. You warm your meals up at the push of a button; if it were any easier, it would probably be illegal.
With microwave ovens, you never have to worry about getting your food burnt. The timer ensures that your meal is just the way you like it — no burnt flavors for us, thanks.
National Microwave Oven Day dates