When Did Microwave Ovens Come Out? – History of an appliance that revamped every kitchen in the world!


Microwave is a popular kitchen appliance. In today’s age, this device sits on the countertop of every kitchen in the United States. According to research, over 90% of homes in the US have a microwave oven.

Besides the US, there’s no doubt that a microwave oven is readily available in every kitchen in the world!

So, when did microwave ovens come out?

Microwave ovens were a by-product of intensive research during World War II. Can you imagine a harmless cooking appliance being invented at a time of mass destruction? Well, it seems fake but it’s legit.

When were microwaves invented?

The first microwave ever built was after the World War II in 1945 by Percy Spencer.

How was the microwave oven invented?

Percy Spencer, a self-taught American engineer from Howland, invented the microwave oven while working on microwave radar. In 1945, Spencer accidentally discovered the heating effect from the microwave beam that was able to melt a chocolate bar in his pocket.

Yes, microwaves were invented by accident!

These microwaves from a high-powered magnetron lead to the investigation which later resulted in the invention of the microwave oven.

For a trial-run, Spencer tried cooking popcorns in his newly built microwave. His first experiment was a success. Following this achievement, he next tried heating an egg which resulted in a huge explosion. YIKES!

After several trials, Spencer finally came up with a working microwave design that feeds a high-density electromagnetic field in a closed metal box.

With this design, Spencer verified his findings and wrote his name permanently in history. Moreover, his company, Raytheon, filed a patent application for the microwave cooking process which brought fame and investment for the company.

Inside Microwave oven – 360 Degree View | Wikimedia.org

When did microwave ovens come out?

In 1945, the testing phase of the microwave oven initiated in a Boston restaurant. Later, in 1947, the microwave oven was made commercially available at a whopping US$5,000.

The first-ever microwave oven was 5 foot 11-inches tall and weighed 340 kilograms. That’s a huge microwave oven size!

Here’s a mind-blowing fact, the US$5,000 price of the microwave oven in 1947 was roughly around US$57,000 in 2019. Can you believe it? A 57-grand for a microwave oven!

This massive cooking appliance consumed 3 times more electricity as compared to the microwaves available in the market today. Can you believe heating your food using 3 kilowatts of electricity? Well…, now you have a much cheaper option!

When did microwaves become popular?

Microwaves became popular in 1967 when Raytheon was able to develop a compact countertop device that every household could easily afford. This marked the first proper commercial establishment of microwaves!

The astonishing development of microwaves in the commercial market

Since 1947, the microwave oven was a massive kitchen appliance that required a lot of modifications in its size and prize. After 7 years, Raytheon finally revamped the 340-kilogram microwave oven into a more budget-friendly design.

This latest microwave was available in the commercial market for US$2,000 which was half the price of its ancestor.

From 1955 to 1961, people knew microwaves existed but, only a few people could afford it because of its whopping price tag.

In 1961, a Japanese company Sharp started manufacturing microwaves with a turntable. This feature becomes popular because it drastically improved the heating capabilities of the microwave. This is the same turntable that you see in every microwave oven today!

Later in 1667, Raytheon after acquiring Amana, introduced the first home microwave oven model at US$495 which was relatively affordable!

The microwave oven market grew astonishingly well in the 1970s. Due to the efforts of Litton Industries, the US market witnessed the first compact no-load microwave model in a trade show at Chicago.

This model rapidly gained popularity. This model allowed the sales of the microwave oven to grow from 40,000 in 1970 to over a million by 1975.

Read this article on the top 5 modern commercial microwave ovens.

When did microwaves become suitable for residential use?

Litton Industries introduced two microwave home models in 1972 priced US$349 and US$399. These models were a huge success and the market of the microwave oven grew. In fact, the microwave market by the end of 1976 was estimated at US$750 million!

During the late 1970s the Japanese company, Sharp Corporation, was the main dominator of the microwave market. Watching the Japanese giant take hold of the market, many South Korean companies also started manufacturing microwaves. Thus, Samsung became a major microwave manufacturer by the 1980s.

Microwaves become a residential kitchen necessity by 1986. Where only 1% of residential kitchens had a microwave in 1971. By 1986, around 26% of every household in the US had a residential microwave. These statistics grew to a whopping 90% by the end of 1990!

Old residential microwave oven

If you’re searching for budget-friendly microwave options, check this top 10 list now!


There you have it! Did you like the brief history of microwave ovens? Now you finally know when did microwave ovens came out! Microwaves have come a long way since the WWII. Although nowadays microwaves are mostly used to reheat food, many modern microwaves can also cook amazing food for you!

Make sure you check out the best microwave oven list we have for you! Also, if you loved the article, do share it with your friends! What do you think about the article? Let us know in the comments below!

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Immad Amir

Hey there, I'm Immad! I'm an SEO and appliance fanatic. Amna, my fiance, and I combined our interests and came up with RavvyReviews to help you all with our well-researched kitchen appliance reviews and foodie informative articles. We aim to learn more along the way and keep bringing you authentic trustworthy articles so all of us can have fun in the kitchen! We love interacting with you guys, do share yours thoughts in the comments. Get in touch with me through info@ravvyreviews.com

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