Massachusetts-based Raytheon pioneered the countertop microwave, which debuted 50 years ago this month.
> October 8, 1945 — Patent filed for “method of treating foodstuffs” using electromagnetic energy by Raytheon Manufacturing Co. engineer Percy Spencer, a native of Howland, Maine
> 12 — Spencer’s age in 1906, when he dropped out of school to work; despite his lack of formal education, he was named on at least 108 patents
> 750 — Weight in pounds of Raytheon’s first commercial microwave oven, marketed to restaurants when released in 1947
> 5 foot 6 — Height of the first commercial microwave, which sold for $5,000
> 4 — Number of knobs and buttons on the Radarange (none were for popcorn)
> $495 — Cost of the Amana Radarange in 1967 (around $3,500 today)
> $35 — Least expensive countertop microwave now available at Walmart (some models can cost $1,500 or more at various stores)
> 150 — Watts of energy produced by the first countertop microwave
> 1975 — Year the sale of microwave ovens surpassed the sale of gas ranges
> $24.5 billion — Projected sales of microwave ovens globally in 2020
> 1982 — Pillsbury offers the first microwave popcorn, which comes frozen
QUOTABLE SPORTS MOMENT
“What comes out of the microwave hot doesn’t always stay hot. I know, because I eat bagels in the morning.” — Shaquille O’Neal, after his Miami Heat overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics, March 16, 2006
Sources: Amana; Raytheon; invention.si.edu;The Chicago Tribune; The New York Times; US Patent and Trademark Office; Walmart; Allied Market Research; USA TodaySend comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.