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(Humans Invent)   The microwave oven was invented by accident after a technician working on microwaves for radar noticed his chocolate bar melted in his pocket   (humansinvent.com) divider line 46
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988 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Mar 2014 at 1:05 PM (21 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-03-27 11:59:12 AM
I wish the author would stop calling the cavity magnetron a "vacuum tube", because while it might be vaguely accurate in some abstract way, it's misleading.
 
2014-03-27 12:00:33 PM
You know you are a true chocoholic if your first thought was, "a chocolate bar went to waste?"

I may have a problem.
 
2014-03-27 12:01:17 PM
Damn.  I thought I was the first to use the name "Speedy Weeny"
 
2014-03-27 12:15:38 PM
Well...that and the fact that all of his future offspring had nine fingers on one hand.
 
2014-03-27 12:28:38 PM
Is Fark now doing the BoingBoing 1 - 5 - 10 years old news recaps?
 
2014-03-27 12:36:03 PM
Thirty-three years later, Rosalyn put metal in the science oven.

24.media.tumblr.com
 
2014-03-27 12:39:45 PM
Also credited for inventing the hot pocket.
 
2014-03-27 12:56:35 PM
Did someone not know this?  I mean, one thing I love about the internet is that it has allowed for the dissemination of these shiny nuggets of history, but I thought this one was well covered a long time ago.
 
2014-03-27 01:06:59 PM
oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooold
 
2014-03-27 01:10:01 PM

2wolves: Is Fark now doing the BoingBoing 1 - 5 - 10 years old news recaps?


timujin: Did someone not know this?  I mean, one thing I love about the internet is that it has allowed for the dissemination of these shiny nuggets of history, but I thought this one was well covered a long time ago.


These
 
2014-03-27 01:11:04 PM
I'm pretty sure I knew this before there was an Internet.
 
2014-03-27 01:11:58 PM
I wonder if anyone can tell me how to save some percentage of money on my car insurance? How long would that take?
 
2014-03-27 01:14:42 PM
I thought radar was discovered when the British were trying to develop microwave ovens capable of cooking German aircrews in flight over Britain.
 
2014-03-27 01:21:31 PM

FrostyBarleyPop: I wonder if anyone can tell me how to save some percentage of money on my car insurance? How long would that take?


Apply directly to forehead.

/subby should feel bad
 
2014-03-27 01:24:35 PM

timujin: Did someone not know this?  I mean, one thing I love about the internet is that it has allowed for the dissemination of these shiny nuggets of history, but I thought this one was well covered a long time ago.


To be fair, I'd never heard this story.

Also, I still don't know what superpowers he wound up with.
 
2014-03-27 01:36:38 PM

ArcadianRefugee: timujin: Did someone not know this?  I mean, one thing I love about the internet is that it has allowed for the dissemination of these shiny nuggets of history, but I thought this one was well covered a long time ago.

To be fair, I'd never heard this story.

Also, I still don't know what superpowers he wound up with.


Sterility-man
 
2014-03-27 01:39:25 PM
i always questioned this...

why did he have a bar in his pocket--a real chocohalic would just eat it
why was the microwave on and pointed at people ?
how long was he standing in front of it ????
 
2014-03-27 01:54:13 PM

WTP 2: i always questioned this...

why did he have a bar in his pocket--a real chocohalic would just eat it
why was the microwave on and pointed at people ?
how long was he standing in front of it ????


If the chocolate was in his pocket, wouldn't his body heat have melted it?
 
2014-03-27 01:54:22 PM

dittybopper: I wish the author would stop calling the cavity magnetron a "vacuum tube", because while it might be vaguely accurate in some abstract way, it's misleading.


I'm not an engineer, so help me out. How are the two things different and how are they similar?
 
2014-03-27 02:00:17 PM

timujin: Did someone not know this?  I mean, one thing I love about the internet is that it has allowed for the dissemination of these shiny nuggets of history, but I thought this one was well covered a long time ago.


Well, there was some interesting stuff there. I didn't know about the power inverter, and that there was a solid state microwave ready to hit the market. Also, I'd never seen the pics of the 6 foot tall microwave, although I remember ones from the 70s that we kept a glass of water in, just in case someone bumped the easy power button on the front. Those early Radaranges were pretty damned big, too, but not 6 ft tall.
 
2014-03-27 02:14:32 PM

Some 'Splainin' To Do: dittybopper: I wish the author would stop calling the cavity magnetron a "vacuum tube", because while it might be vaguely accurate in some abstract way, it's misleading.

I'm not an engineer, so help me out. How are the two things different and how are they similar?


Cavity Magnetron:

www.cdvandt.org

upload.wikimedia.org

Vacuum tubes.


They do share some similarities, but they also work differently.
 
2014-03-27 02:17:55 PM

Wellon Dowd: I thought radar was discovered when the British were trying to develop microwave ovens capable of cooking German aircrews in flight over Britain.


Yeah, the initial research that led to RADAR in Britain was the idea of a "death ray" that could cook a pilot in the cockpit of an airplane.

The British government asked Robert Watson-Watt to look into it, and he concluded that the power necessary was impractical, but that it would be practical to build a location device, and that led to RADAR.
 
2014-03-27 02:21:14 PM
Everyone knows that GEICO can save you 15% or more on car insurance, but did you know that radar microwaves will melt the chocolate bar in your pocket?

/everyone knows that
//and the technician later died from innards cancer
///coincidence?
////I made up that last part
//or did I?
 
2014-03-27 02:23:01 PM

Wellon Dowd: If the chocolate was in his pocket, wouldn't his body heat have melted it?


It was in the breast pocket of his lab coat.

/No idea why I remember that.
 
2014-03-27 02:23:53 PM
NOOOPE

basically an Urban myth.  My Dad started a career that ended up at NASA by fixing radar rigs in NY harbor and the "warm your coffee trick was very well known by radar techs starting from WWII onward.  No one who knows anything about radar waves would have been surprised at their capacity to heat things, including human flesh, which is why the guys working on the sets made DAMN sure they were turned off first
 
2014-03-27 02:25:09 PM

dittybopper: Wellon Dowd: I thought radar was discovered when the British were trying to develop microwave ovens capable of cooking German aircrews in flight over Britain.

Yeah, the initial research that led to RADAR in Britain was the idea of a "death ray" that could cook a pilot in the cockpit of an airplane.

The British government asked Robert Watson-Watt to look into it, and he concluded that the power necessary was impractical, but that it would be practical to build a location device, and that led to RADAR.


To add on that. A technician was wondering why the dog in the lab was always desperate to get outside when he flipped on the equipment. He let it out and saw that it was feasting on dead seagulls. He shooed the dog away (with difficulty), and found to his surprise the dead bird was hot.

Grandfather worked for the CRC during the war, specifically, with RADAR. I'd believe his story before that lame chocolate story, why didn't the guy get uncomfortably hot or worse (aqueous humour).
 
2014-03-27 02:28:02 PM

dittybopper: Some 'Splainin' To Do: dittybopper: I wish the author would stop calling the cavity magnetron a "vacuum tube", because while it might be vaguely accurate in some abstract way, it's misleading.

I'm not an engineer, so help me out. How are the two things different and how are they similar?

Cavity Magnetron:

[www.cdvandt.org image 850x637]

[upload.wikimedia.org image 850x413]

Vacuum tubes.


They do share some similarities, but they also work differently.


Diddy, I like you; and if I have a ham radio question, you'll be the first guy I ask, but there's nothing wrong with calling a magnetron a vacuum tube. It relies on thermionic emission, and it (usually) operates with an evacuated central chamber. It's a very specialized type of vacuum tube, sure, but then so were diodes, triodes, and every other kind of tubed device created in the last hundred years. This is more akin to asking what the difference is between an IBM and a computer. Sure, the terms should never be considered interchangeable, but I'd say the relationship is a bit closer than "vaguely accurate in some abstract way."
 
2014-03-27 02:31:03 PM

dittybopper: Some 'Splainin' To Do: dittybopper: I wish the author would stop calling the cavity magnetron a "vacuum tube", because while it might be vaguely accurate in some abstract way, it's misleading.

I'm not an engineer, so help me out. How are the two things different and how are they similar?

Cavity Magnetron:

[www.cdvandt.org image 850x637]

[upload.wikimedia.org image 850x413]

Vacuum tubes.


They do share some similarities, but they also work differently.


Thank you, but I'm even more confused now. I don't see how one can be confused for the other. Can you tell me what sort of simularities they share?
 
2014-03-27 02:38:06 PM

Wellon Dowd: I thought radar was discovered when the British were trying to develop microwave ovens capable of cooking German aircrews in flight over Britain.


Less well known: The Volkswagen Beetle was originally a design for a cheap washing machine, but an incurable vibration problem caused it to wander across the floor, which inspired one of the engineers to re-purpose the design for basic transportation.

The name came about at the same time when one of the managers asked the engineers about the peripatetic appliance, "Is that a bug?" and some wit replied "Yes, it's a beetle".
 
2014-03-27 03:05:45 PM
You would be susprised how many things were invented or discovered by mistake.
 
2014-03-27 03:08:33 PM
My dad worked on air force radar. He told me a story in which two techs got melted.
Well, irradiated to death anyway...Gruesome story.

/If your flashlight won't turn off, RUN.
 
2014-03-27 03:28:35 PM

Flt209er: Diddy, I like you; and if I have a ham radio question, you'll be the first guy I ask, but there's nothing wrong with calling a magnetron a vacuum tube. It relies on thermionic emission, and it (usually) operates with an evacuated central chamber. It's a very specialized type of vacuum tube, sure, but then so were diodes, triodes, and every other kind of tubed device created in the last hundred years. This is more akin to asking what the difference is between an IBM and a computer. Sure, the terms should never be considered interchangeable, but I'd say the relationship is a bit closer than "vaguely accurate in some abstract way."


The difference is that the internal structure of the cavity magnetron different.  Yes, it's a highly specialized form of vacuum tube, but it's made differently than, say, a 6146 or 12BY7 glass vacuum tube.

If I went around calling pick-up trucks cars, you'd call me an idiot, and that's the sort of difference I'm talking about here.  After all, pick-ups and sedans operate fundamentally the same, right?  But their function is different, and so their form is different, and we thus call them different things, even if there is no real difference in how they are driven.

Now, a klystron, yeah, that's more along the lines of the common use of "vacuum tube".
 
2014-03-27 03:31:48 PM

grimlock1972: You would be susprised how many things were invented or discovered by mistake.


True story:  Fark was originally supposed to be an implementation of the Clinton health care plan, but the programmers found the key to their parent's liquor cabinet*, and, well, here we are.


*Back then all programmers were underage because computers had just been invented.
 
2014-03-27 03:37:17 PM

Magorn: NOOOPE

basically an Urban myth.  My Dad started a career that ended up at NASA by fixing radar rigs in NY harbor and the "warm your coffee trick was very well known by radar techs starting from WWII onward.  No one who knows anything about radar waves would have been surprised at their capacity to heat things, including human flesh, which is why the guys working on the sets made DAMN sure they were turned off first


Knowing the properties of something (the ability to heat), and having the insight to turn it into a practical device (microwave oven) are two different things.

Hell, the ability of radio waves to heat things was known well before WWII:  Radio-based diathermy machines were used prior to the invention of radar:

http://archopht.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=613259
 
2014-03-27 04:06:06 PM

dittybopper: Flt209er: Diddy, I like you; and if I have a ham radio question, you'll be the first guy I ask, but there's nothing wrong with calling a magnetron a vacuum tube. It relies on thermionic emission, and it (usually) operates with an evacuated central chamber. It's a very specialized type of vacuum tube, sure, but then so were diodes, triodes, and every other kind of tubed device created in the last hundred years. This is more akin to asking what the difference is between an IBM and a computer. Sure, the terms should never be considered interchangeable, but I'd say the relationship is a bit closer than "vaguely accurate in some abstract way."

The difference is that the internal structure of the cavity magnetron different.  Yes, it's a highly specialized form of vacuum tube, but it's made differently than, say, a 6146 or 12BY7 glass vacuum tube.


Sure, it's a different internal structure, but so what? The 12BY7 is an old pentode tube, but it's by no means interchangeable with any other vacuum tube of dissimilar construction. It has more hardware in between cathode an anode than the original diode tubes; but I'm still fine with calling it a vacuum tube because it is one. That said, you don't just slap a "vacuum tube" into your amp if one burns out; you look for another pentode with similar form and function. There's nothing wrong with considering the magnetron to be a vacuum tube designed to have very strong internal oscillation; which, ironically, is something pentode tubes are designed to avoid.

If I went around calling pick-up trucks cars, you'd call me an idiot, and that's the sort of difference I'm talking about here.  After all, pick-ups and sedans operate fundamentally the same, right?  But their function is different, and so their form is different, and we thus call them different things, even if there is no real difference in how they are driven.

No, I probably wouldn't; though I might ask you to elaborate if you actually meant "truck" since, as you say, form follows function; and I wouldn't want you to bring a "car" to haul logs. But if you'd called the truck a "vehicle" I wouldn't call you an idiot under any circumstance. "Vacuum tube" is just a far more general term than either "magnetron" or "pentode". Thermionic emission, and an evacuated chamber (or tube).
 
2014-03-27 04:15:22 PM

lectos: ArcadianRefugee: timujin: Did someone not know this?  I mean, one thing I love about the internet is that it has allowed for the dissemination of these shiny nuggets of history, but I thought this one was well covered a long time ago.

To be fair, I'd never heard this story.

Also, I still don't know what superpowers he wound up with.

Sterility-man


The Mancer.
 
2014-03-27 04:18:48 PM
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com

/i'm a ham too
//and a tube audio guy
///telefunken u47
 
2014-03-27 05:17:40 PM
and then, to prove the theory, popcorn was popped in a sandwich bag.
 
2014-03-27 05:28:13 PM
Dad was Percy's boss at Raytheon. He says that Percy told him it really was an apple that heated up but the chocolate story sounded better. Apparently Percy was quite the strange person.
 
2014-03-27 06:30:44 PM

i.imgur.com

 
2014-03-27 06:40:30 PM

dittybopper: grimlock1972: You would be susprised how many things were invented or discovered by mistake.

True story:  Fark was originally supposed to be an implementation of the Clinton health care plan, but the programmers found the key to their parent's liquor cabinet*, and, well, here we are.


*Back then all programmers were underage because computers had just been invented.


LMAO.
 
2014-03-27 07:44:53 PM
I like the Bell Telephone story. Back in the 50's Bell Tel was setting up the nationwide network of microwave relay towers for long distance telephone service. One night there was a single tech sitting in a remote relay tower in Maine supporting some adjustment/testing activity. It was cold, so he plunked his chair down in front of the antenna and curled up with a blanket to get warm using the microwaves. During the night he fell asleep. Also, during the night, another tech at another site remotely upped the microwave output of the tower our hero was sleeping at.

The next morning, they couldn't get the tech to answer the phone. Someone went to the site on the mountain top to check. When he opened the shack, he was greeted with the lovely smell of roast beef...
 
2014-03-27 09:13:39 PM

Vermithrax Perjorative: [encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com image 206x245]

/i'm a ham too
//and a tube audio guy
///telefunken u47


Favorited as a ham, for the next Fark QSO Party
 
2014-03-27 10:21:55 PM
i.chzbgr.com
 
2014-03-27 11:59:47 PM
I thought the chocolate bar story was common knowledge. Then again, I spent the first seven years of my career working at a Lockheed Martin plant that built radars for the Navy, and in that place it WAS common knowledge.
 
2014-03-28 09:34:50 AM

Vermithrax Perjorative: [i.chzbgr.com image 500x375]


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