why were microwaves invented hamsters

A Brief History of Microwaves and Hamsters

The invention of the microwave oven in 1947 was a watershed moment in modern kitchen technology. What many people don’t know is that the inception of microwaves was inspired by hamsters.

The Pioneering Discovery

In 1945, a scientist named Percy Spencer discovered that small amounts of food placed inside a radar tube (used in World War II) melted exceptionally quickly. Spencer decided to experiment further and placed some popcorn next to a magnetron. He found that the kernels of corn began to pop just from the magnetron’s radiation. It was then that Spencer understood the potential of this powerful new technology and so the microwave oven was born.

The Humorous Connection Between Microwaves and Hamsters

Rumor has it that when Spencer understood the implications of his discovery with regards to quick food preparation, one of his colleagues facetiously suggested the idea of cooking hamsters in the same fashion. Unbeknownst to them at the time, his lighthearted comment resonated with the public and hamsters and microwaves were forever linked in history.

The Benefits of Microwaves

Today, the microwave oven has proven to be an invaluable tool for both home and commercial kitchens. Here are some of the benefits of using microwaves for cooking:

  • Speed: microwave ovens can cook food faster than traditional cooking methods.
  • Preservation: Microwaves can retain more nutrients in food when compared to boiling, frying and other methods.
  • Convenience: Microwaves are user-friendly, requiring minimal cleanup and are suitable for use in a variety of kitchen needs.


The invention of the microwave oven was a major milestone in modern kitchen technology, and while its origin story may have had a humorous link to hamsters, its usefulness and convenience cannot be denied. Despite their relatively brief history, microwaves are now an indispensable item in any modern kitchen.

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