Oct 052004

In 1945, Dr. Percy Spencer, a self-taught engineer with the Raytheon Corporation, was touring a company laboratory that was involved in a radar-related research project . . . and noticed something very unusual when he stopped in front of a magnetron. The chocolate bar in his pocket had begun to melt.

Spencer, who obtained 120 patents in his lifetime, knew how to apply his curiosity. So he followed up by seeing what would happen to popcorn kernels (they popped) and eggs (they exploded) that were exposed to the same low-density microwave energy.

As a result of his simple experiment, Spencer and Raytheon developed the first primitive microwave oven, which weighed a hefty 750 pounds, stood nearly six feet high, and sold for about $5,000.

And so now I can have popcorn anytime, and heat hot water in seconds.

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