Sunday, May 07, 2006

Unleash the MAGNETRON!

I was sitting the kitchen at the afctory the other day, and on top of a cupboard was the box thet the microwave oven came in. It had the words "Microwave Oven" in numerous languages down the side, and most were variants on "Four micro-onde" or "Fourno Microndulo". Except the last version was "MAGNETRON"


What country and language is this that has so little fear of science and technology that they can name a kitchen appliance a MAGNETRON? A Google search took me through the history of Microwave ovens.
As part of the 1939-1945 war, research into Radar was afoot and Percy Spencer was working with the Raytheon company. At the core of 1940s Radar was a Magnetron, the beast that generated the microwaves. Spencer found one day that a peanut bar in his pocket had melted while he was standing infron of a magnetron. He experimented with popcorn and got it to pop when exposed to the microwaves.

Hey Presto! The microwave oven. Early models were 6 foot tall and watercooled and naturally a bit slow to catch on. In 1975 Microwave ovens finally sold more units in the USA than tradional gas ranges.

Magnetron is also a Pokemon electric character. That's more like it. For me Magnetron sounds like the kind of device that Ming the Merciless would turn on planet Earth in order to vaporise it. "Flash, we only have 8 seconds left to deflect the Magnetron from Eath's orbit"


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