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Microwave: 5 things your didn’t know


The microwave is there, in the kitchen, discreet and ready to help you when you are in a rush or you don’t want to cook. It seems now part of your daily routine but in reality, it has a story to not underestimate! 

1 – Its inventor wasn’t graduated

It seems a cliché but it’s not: the microwave, as well as many other big inventions, is an accidental invention and it was made even by an unusual engineer.

Percy Spencer was a guy grown next to the big factories of the Maine, in the United States. When he was 12 years old he started to work inside a paper factory. 

Even though he only did the primary school, he was very curious and perceptive. When he was 14 years old infact he started to work inside the sector where they checked the electric supply of the site.

Percy Spencer era un ragazzo sveglio e intraprendente che completò la sua formazione ingegneristica nei ritagli di tempo.
Percy Spencer was a smart and resourceful guy that finished his study in engineering during his waste time.

Few year later, being inspired by the radio communicators of the Titanic, he decided to join the navy. By studing during the night shifts, he was really able to get an engineering knowledge. Thanks to his perseverance after the First World War he started to work for the Raytheon Manufacturing Company, a company that produced military weapons.

2 – The microwave was invented as an error

The historian Chet Michalak described Percy Spencer:

“An ace to find simple solution to complicate problems.”

Right for this ability, Spencer was involved in many kind of projects.

One day, the young Percy Spencer was working to the radar for the militar airplanes. Instead that communicate with sounds, the airplanes must be able to communicate in a more discreet way with some waves, some electromagnetic microwaves.

During the tests of this appliance, Percy Spenser noticed that the choccolate bar that was next to him during the experimentations was melted!

3 – Its existence is signed of fake news

Beautiful story, probably you believed it too! However it is only partly true: Percy Spencer was really the inventor not graduated of the microwave, but the bar wasn’t made of chocolate, but with peanuts.

You can think what’s the difference. It’s different because melt a chocolate bar wasn’t noteworthy. The chocolate, infact, melts at very low temperatures while to melt a peanut bar means that the power of the ancestor of our microwave is remarkable.

4 – The cooking with the microwave is dangerous

That’s another fake news: the cooking with the microwave isn’t dangerous, but its inventor didn’t know it. Percy Spencer infact made many “cooking” tests with its microwave. Only after 1 try he claimed that put an egg, which exploded, wasn’t a good idea. Otherwise he was delighted to offer pop-corn to the whole team!

So, he didn’t seem very worried about the possible fatal consequences of the microwave cooking. After all, in the 1940 the people had other problems. If using an atomic bomb on the Japan didn’t seem to raise a big outcry, why had a microwave do it?

In the ’40s, at the end of the Second World War, the safety of the microwave cooking wasn’t something that made a splash

Only in the following decades the company Army Natick Research and Development Laboratories in Massachusetts undertake the duty to draw up the safety of the microwave cooking. If it’s made in the correct way, it is considered today very safe and even healt.

5 – It might be used to go in the space

75 years after its birth, besides to be common used inside our houses, the microwave might have an importart role in the launch of the next spaceships.

The company Escape Dynamics is studying infact a system thanks to which the microwaves will heat the hydrogen inside the tank of the spaceship to supply the propulsion of the rockets. This method will break down the cost of the space missions and it will open new horizonts of the usages of our daily old microwave. 

This post is also available in: Italiano

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