Adoption


The microwave oven was patented in 1946 and the first microwave hit the market by 1947.[1] The first microwave, called the Radarange, was ~6 feet tall, weighed over 750 pounds, and cost between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars(Try fitting that into your kitchen!).[2] When the microwave initially hit the market, it was used mainly in “restaurants, railroad cars and ocean liners, where large quantities of food needed to be cooked quickly”.[3] The first version of the microwave was not at all conducive to a kitchen setting, its expense and large size made it unpopular for the average American citizen.






That was, until the Tappan Stove Company (with the permission of Raytheon) came up with a smaller, less expensive version of the Microwave. Both Tappan and Raytheon realized the potential of a smaller sized microwave and hoped that it would take off in households around the country. In 1955 Tappan Stove Company put its first microwave on the market. It was 24 inches and cost about $1,200. Ten years later, by 1965, Tappan Stove Company put on the market the first combination conventional range and microwave oven, “this further boosted sales”.[40]
By 1975 the sales of the microwave oven exceeded gas range ovens for the first time.[5]
By 1976, the microwave was in 60% of homes.[6]







Despite the success of the Microwave oven, alternatives were always present, and still remain. (lets face it, who wants to cook a turkey in a microwave!?)

Alternatives to the microwave include convection ovens, toaster ovens, and the stovetop.[7] Other, less known, alternatives include the turbo oven, and other alternatives are being produced to this day.
A common myth (that actually turns people away from the microwave) is that microwave cooking is unsafe, unhealthy, and you actually lose vitamins in microwave cooking that you would not lose using microwave alternatives [8]. This has been proven to be untrue by the FDA who admits that microwave cooking is safe.[9]
In fact, some say that the microwave allow vitamins to remain in food more so than if the same food was cooked using a different appliance, definitely something to keep in mind!





Below is an image of Spencer’s patent for the Microwave (click to enlarge)










(click the images to view patent)

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Image Sources can be viewed HERE


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[1] Carlton Gallawa, “Who Invented Microwaves? Excerpts from the book The Complete Microwave Oven Service Handbook 2007,” http://www.gallawa.com/microtech/history.html (accessed January 22, 2009).

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Blockbusting,”NH Business Review, November 15-18 2002, 3A, EBSCOhost.com (accessed January 29, 2009).

[4] “Tappan Stove Company,” Ohio History Central (2006), http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=2620 (accessed January 22, 2009)

[5] Carlton Gallawa, “Who Invented Microwaves? Excerpts from the book The Complete Microwave Oven Service Handbook 2007,” http://www.gallawa.com/microtech/history.html (accessed January 22, 2009).

[6] Joseph Guenthner, “The Influence of Microwave Ovens On the Demand for Fresh and Frozen Potatoes,” Journal of Food Distribution Research (September 1991): 45-52, EBSCOhost.com (accessed January 29, 2009).

[7] Sara McGrath, “Dangers of Microwaved Food: Quick Cooking Alternatives,” http://nutrition.suite101.com/article.cfm/dangers_of_microwave_oven_use (accessed January 22, 2009).

[8] Ibid.

[9] 6 Joseph Guenthner, “The Influence of Microwave Ovens On the Demand for Fresh and Frozen Potatoes,” Journal of Food Distribution Research (September 1991): 45-52, EBSCOhost.com (accessed January 29, 2009).

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