Have you heard of: Percy Spencer

Percy Spencer

Well here I am on Wednesday afternoon, it is a cool and overcast afternoon, feels like it is going to rain again. It rained this morning when I dropped Leo off at school and went to my aqua class but it fined up b around 10am.

This week I am asking if you have heard of Percy Spencer, if not you are not alone as I haven’t heard of him till I Googled who invented the microwave oven.

His invention was an accident, that I had heard before, worked for a company named Raytheon, developing microwave radar transmitters during World War II. When one day in 1945, he noticed that a candy bar he had in his pocket was starting to melt. He was not the first to notice this phenomenon, but he was the first to investigate it.

He decided to experiment using food, including popping corn kernels, which became the world’s first microwaved popcorn. In another experiment, an egg was placed in a tea kettle, and the magnetron was placed directly above it. The result was the egg exploding in the face of one of his co-workers, who was looking in the kettle to observe.

Spencer then created the first true microwave oven by attaching a high density electromagnetic field generator to an enclosed metal box. The magnetron emitted microwaves into the metal box blocking any escape, allowing for controlled and safe experimentation. He then placed various food items in the box, while observing effects and monitoring temperatures.

The first commercially produced microwave oven was about 6 feet tall, weighed about 750 lbs, and cost about $5,000 US.

After the war he used radar technology developed during the war to invent the microwave oven, it was named the “Radarange” and was first sold in 1946, the company Raytheon later licensed its patents for a home-use microwave oven that was first introduced in 1955, but these units were still too large and expensive for general home use. The bench top microwave oven was first introduced in 1967, and their use has spread into commercial and residential kitchens around the world. In addition to their use in cooking food, types of microwave ovens are used for heating in many industrial processes.

He was born in Maine 18 months later, Spencer’s father died, and his mother soon left him in the care of his aunt and uncle. His uncle then died when Spencer was just seven years old. Spencer subsequently left school to earn money to support himself and his aunt. From the ages of twelve to sixteen, he worked from sunrise to sunset at a spool mill. At 16 he discovered that a local paper mill was soon to begin using electricity, a concept little known in his rural home region, and he accordingly began learning as much as possible about the phenomenon.

So when he applied to work at the mill, he was one of three people hired to install electricity in the plant, despite never having received any formal training or even finishing

school.

At the age of 18, Spencer decided to join the U S Navy, he had become interested in wireless communications, while in the navy, he made himself an expert on radio technology: “I just got hold of a lot of textbooks and taught myself while I was standing watch at night.” he is reported to have said, he then taught himself trigonometry, calculus. Chemistry. Physics and metallurgy among other subjects.

By 1939 Spencer became one of the world’s leading experts in radar tube design.

For his invention, Spencer received no royalties, but he was paid a one-time $2.00 gratuity from Raytheon, the same token payment the company made to all inventors on its payroll at that time for company patents.

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