Startup: This Came From Candy

This is the world’s first microwave oven, the Radarange. It’s huge, so small wonder it didn’t catch on right away. The important thing is how it came to be.

A small engineering firm (so small you’ve probably never heard of them) called Raytheon (what do you mean defense contractor?) made radar systems to spot enemy planes during WWII. One of their engineers (Percy Spencer) was standing by the magnetron from a radar system in the lab one day and noticed that it melted the candy bar in his pocket. Yes, that’s right HE CARRIED CANDY WITH HIM. Smarter than your average bear. Intrigued, he put some popcorn kernels in front of it to see if they would pop. (First candy bars, now popcorn, man this guy knows how to live!)

Inspired by the melting of the candy bar he was just casually carrying around in his pocket, he set about getting the both Ray and Theo to work building a commercial appliance. At over $2000 in 1947 money, it didn’t sell as well as the candy bars that people were going to melt with it. They licensed it Tappan Stove Co. who got it down to a mere $1300 for the home in 1955. They acquired Amana Refigeration in 1965 (no word on how much candy that cost), and introduced a countertop model for around $500. Sales took off, popcorn was popped, and the rest is history.

So remember: if you want a breakthrough, carry candy on you at all times. I can’t stress this enough people.


  • pj134

    Little kids look at me weird when I offer them candy though.

    I would advise against that.

    My windowless econovan seems to help.

  • P161911

    But this bad boy could cook a 6lb. roast in 2 minutes!
    Plus it was water cooled and required a plumbing hookup.

    • Deartháir

      Two minutes!? Aww, but I want it NOWWW!

  • Candy is one thing but,

    • pj134

      You must really like candy.


  • Number_Six

    If it melted candy in his pocket as he was walking past, what was it doing to his innards?

    • pj134

      This popped into my head when I read your comment.

      [youtube WlBiLNN1NhQ youtube]

      • Number_Six

        The firewalls prevent me from seeing, so I'm going to imagine a scene from the movie Scanners. Did I get it right?

    • The Professor

      I used to party with a group of Air Force knuckleheads when I was much, much younger, and most of them worked in radar operations. They used to tell stories of the weird things they'd do with the radar, like cooking the rats in their warehouse alive with the radar beam, roasting birds on powerlines, etc. Boredom ran high while on duty.