Primary Sources

Eva, Bill. “Microwave Ovens for the Home – How They Work and What to Look for in Selecting One.” Popular Electronics, July 1976, 39 – 42.

This primary source provides information regarding the history of the microwave, including the top ten microwave companies, and statistics about the increase of microwaves in home kitchens. It also provides insight as to what people were considering when shopping for a new microwave and helps shed light on what was popular.

Kafka, Barbara. Microwave Gourmet – The Only Microwave Cookbook You Will Ever Need. New York: William Morrow and Company Inc., 1987.

This source is one of the many cookbooks published which focuses on cooking entire meals using only the microwave. It illustrates how popular the microwave had become, since there was a clear market for these cookbooks.

Radarange Microwave Oven – by Amana. 1972. “Make the Greatest Cooking Discovery Since Fire.” Advertisement. Accessed February 19, 2017. clickamericana.com/topics/food-drink/introducing-the-microwave-oven-1971.

This advertisement from the early 70’s, when the microwave started taking off for consumers. The head line “Make the greatest cooking discovery since fire” embodies how important and revolutionary this invention was for the American kitchen.

Spencer, Percy. Method of treating foodstuffs. U.S. Patent 2495429 filed October 8, 1945 issued January 24 1950.

This source of the original patent for “Method of treating foodstuffs” by Percy Spencer was issued in 1945 and filed in 1950. This gives us a better sense of the timeline between Spencer and his invention and its competitors.

Stocklin, William. “Be Cool: Cook With a Microwave Oven.” Electronics World, July 1971, 44. 

The primary source provides information about the early marketing and power of the microwave ovens. It also discusses the early safety features regarding this new technology.


Secondary Sources

Carr, Joseph J. Microwave & Wireless Communications Technology. Boston: Elsevier, 1996.

This source breaks down the makeup of the microwave by the individual parts, both tangible and cellular, to showcase the basic essentials of developing technology.

Cooper, Ken. “Microlessons: Toward a History of Information-Age Cuisine.” Journal of Technology Cuisine 36, no. 3 (2015): 579 – 609.

This article discusses how the technological companies behind new kitchen appliance such as microwaves sold specialized cookbooks in order to capitalize on their products and advance their industry. It also mentions some of the consequences associated with using microwaves.


Elizabeth, Erin. “The Hidden Dangers of Microwaves: and Inexpensive Alternatives.” Health Nut News. Last Modified January 4, 2016. Accessed February 19, 2017. www.healthnutnews.com/the-hidden-dangers-of-microwaves/.

This webpage discusses the possibles dangers of repeated and prolonged exposure to microwaves on one’s health. It also presents different alternatives to the microwave oven.

“Food for Thought: the History of the Oven.” hhgregg. Last Modified December 12, 2013.Accessed February 20, 2017. blogs.hhgregg.com/history-of-the-oven/.

This sources provides a timeline of the different antecedents that derived from the stove. It also includes the microwave and where it fits into the timeline.

Gallawa, J. Carlton. “The History of the Microwave Oven.” Who Invented the Microwave? Accessed February 10, 2017. http://www.microtechfactorservice.com/history.html.

This webpage gives a brief history of how Spencer discovered his magnetron tube could heat food and initial reactions to his invention of the microwave oven. Initial reactions to the product were unfavorable.

Ganapati, Priya. “October 25, 1955: Time to Nuke Dinner.” Wired. Last Modified October 25, 2010. Accessed February 10, 2017. www.wired.com/2010/10/1025home-microwave-ovens/.

This webpage traces the early history of the microwave including some if it’s antecedents. It compares the prices of its competition and antecedents.

Guenthner, Joseph, Biing-Hwan Lin, and Annette E. Levi. “The influence of microwave ovens on the demand for fresh and frozen potatoes.” Journal of Food Distribution Research 22, no. 3 (1991): 45-52.

This article examines the influence on the food market resulting from the microwave oven. Consumer food preferences and preparation habits adapted to this new invention and brought the development of microwave popcorn, pizza, and soup.

Gustaitis, Joseph. “The Explosive History of Popcorn.” American History 36, no. 4 (2001): 32 – 37. 

This article explains how popcorn and microwaves are linked together and how the industries grew together.

Hammock, William. “Microwave.” American Heritage of Invention & Technology 25, no. 3(2010): 25 – 28.

This article examines the invention of the microwave and also traces the history of the Raytheon Company and its transition from making supplies for World War II to making household goods.

Hine, Claudia. “The Father of  Modern Cooking.” Adhesive Age 40, no. 5 (1997): 66.

This article discusses that despite the fact that Percy Spencer invented the microwave, he did not profit much from it.

McFeely, Mary Drake. Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? American Women and the Kitchen in theTwentieth Century. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 2000.

This book briefly mentions how the microwave was revolutionary in kitchens because it offered those who could not cook or did not have time to the ability to “cook” a meal. It also mentions how food writers created cookbooks specifically for microwaves.

McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking – the Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York:Scribner, 2004.

This source is a reprint of a 1984 cookbook, which explains both how microwave ovens work and also a brief history. It also provides cooking instructions for meats, fish, fruits and vegetables.

“Microwave Ovens vs. Commercial Ovens: a Comparison of Technology and Efficiency.” BiljiBachao!. Last Modified April 22, 2016. Accessed February 20, 2017. www.biljibachao.com/appliances/microwave-oven-vs-commercial-oven-a-comparison-of-technology-and-efficiency.html.

This sources provides a comparison between microwave ovens and commercial ovens and discusses the mechanics behind how a microwave oven works. 

Murray, Don. “Percy Spencer and His Itch to Know.” Reader’s Digest, 1958, 114. 

This article from Reader’s Digest is written by Don Murray, a friend of Percy Spencer. Murray describes Spencer first hand giving us a personal look into his life and personality.

“Percy Spencer.” Famous Inventors. Accessed February 19, 2017. www.famousinventors.org/percy-spencer.

This source provides information about the life of Percy Spencer as well as providing information regarding the creation of the first microwave.

Ross, Rachel. “Who Invented the Microwave Oven?” Life Science. Last Modified January 5, 2017. Accessed February 19, 2017. www.lifescience.com/57405-who-invented-microwave-oven.html.

This webpage gives an in-depth account of the history of the microwave, from Spencer inventing it to the initial fears surrounding using it on the side of the public. It then talks about the eventual acceptance by the public and how it became one of the most widely used kitchen products.

Smith, Andrew F. Eating History – 30 Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine. NewYork: Columbia University Press, 2009.

Eating History has a chapter describing the history of the microwave oven – including the story of how Percy Spencer discovered it, its various antecedents, and how it affected households.

Tweedie, Steven. “How the Microwave Was Invented By a Radar Engineer Who Accidentally Cooked a Candy Bar in his Pocket.” Business Insider. Last Modified July 3, 2015. Accessed February 19, 2017. www.businessinsider.com/how-the-microwave-was-invented-by-accident-2015-4.

This article features an interview with Spencer’s grandson as he recalls the process by which his grandfather invented the microwave.

Wilson, Bee. Consider the Fork – A History of How We Cook and Eat. New York: Basic Books, 2012. 

This book features a section specifically examining the microwave. It covers its invention and early models and concerns, examines how prevalent the microwave is in today’s kitchens, and also talks about its ability to actually cook edible food quickly.

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