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May 18, 1999

Who invented the microwave oven?

A pocketful of chocolate goo led to the invention of the microwave oven.

Percy Spencer, a self-taught engineer with the Raytheon Co., was working on a radar-related research project in 1946 when he walked past a vacuum tube emitting electromagnetic waves.

The chocolate bar in his pocket melted.

Spencer realized that the microwaves- which are high-frequency electromagnetic waves- rapidly moved molecules in the food, producing heat.

Spencer refined his invention, and about one year later Raytheon Co. introduced the first commercial microwave oven. The $3,000 water-cooled monster stood nearly 6-feet tall.

Gradual refinements moved the microwave into the mainstream.

Source: abcnews.com and www.gallawa.com

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