February 25, 2017

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Raytheon Microwave

Raytheon Microwave

Percy Spencer
Year Founded:


Featured Products:

Raytheon Company: The First Sixty Years (MA) (Images of America)

100 Greatest Science Inventions of All Time
Vintage Microwave Oven

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What they do:
Defense contractor that has created a number of non-industrial products, including the Amana Radarange microwave oven.

Percy Spencer was a prolific inventor for the Raytheon Company. One day in 1944, while in a laboratory where magnetrons (used in radar production) were tested, he felt a peanut butter bar in his pocket start to heat up and melt. The heating phenomenon was something other lab scientists knew about, but only Percy saw it as a potential new way to cook food. Percy started experimenting in the lab with corn seeds---which exploded into popcorn, and eggs, which fried.

About the business:
After taking the magnetron home, Spencer built a machine around it. Raytheon introduced the machine commercially in 1947 as the Amana RadarRange — the first microwave oven. Today, more than 200 million microwave ovens are in use. Ninety percent of all U.S. families own one. However, Raytheon no longer makes them. The defense contractor divested itself of Amana refrigeration in the 1990s.


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