Skipit Pioneers Episode 6: Percy Spencer – Microwave Oven
Hotpockets, microwave popcorn, and Easy Mac all made possible thanks to Mr. Percy Spencer, inventor of the microwave oven.
Spencer invented the first prototype for the microwave oven after visiting a lab where magnetrons were being tested. While standing close to the magnetrons he noticed a candy bar in his pocket was melting. He wasn’t the first to notice this phenomenon, but he was the first to dig deeper. By 1947 he had the first commercial microwave oven, but it wasn’t anything close to the machine you have sitting in your kitchen. This microwave stood 5 ½ feet tall, weighed over 750 pounds and cost an average of $5,000 each!
It took years of tweaks and changes to get the microwave oven down to a manageable size and price for the average consumer, but by 1975 microwave oven sales surpassed that of gas ranges, and the world was hooked. So next time you stick something in the microwave for a quick heat up, remember that skipping genius Percy Spencer the microwave oven inventor who made that hot pocket possible.