Tuesday, October 23, 2012

History of microwave applications

The development of dielectric heating application in food industry started in the radio frequency range in the 1930s. The desired energy transfer rate enhancement led to an increased frequency: the microwaves.

At the end of World War II, Percy L. Spencer, a high school dropout was experimenting with radar microwaves when he discovered a chocolate bar in his pocket had melted due to the unknown food heating property of microwave power. He tested the microwave energy on popcorn and an egg, of which heated up quickly.

Raytheon Corp, Spencer’s employer soon obtained the patent and built a microwave oven. The first commercial microwave oven, standing 5.5 tall. Weighing over 750 lbs and sitting $5000.

Although Raytheon Corp, produced microwave ovens as early as the 1940’s, it was not until the mid 1950’s that an oven was designed for household or commercial use.

The first major applications were finish drying of potato chips, pre-cooking of poultry and bacon, tempering of frozen food and drying of pasta.

The first microwave oven was introduced in 1955. It was the size of a refrigerator. The first counter top microwave oven was introduction in 1967. It was a 100 volt microwave oven that cost less than $500 and was small, safer that its predecessors and more reliable.

In the 1970s, the microwaves phenomenon generated a change in home cookery. Inexperienced cooks and even children were able to take charge of heating and preparing simple dishes without fuss or complicated instructors.

After Hitachi, Panasonic, Sanyo and Sharp began marketing countertop models, these new appliances set the new style of the postmodern kitchen, which were cooler and more fuel efficient. By 1975, more than a million ovens a year were being sold in the United States.
History of microwave applications
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