It cost $495 (about $3,200 today). Consumer interest in microwave ovens began to grow. About 40,000 units were sold in the United States in 1970.
The following year, Sharp became the first company to mass produce microwave ovens. Raytheon in 1965 acquired Amana, an appliance company in Newton, Iowa. In 1967, the first Amana home microwave oven, a 110-volt countertop model, sold for $495 (about $3,515 today).
When first introduced in the 1950s, microwave ovens were promoted as the wave of the future, the latest in modern electrical cooking. By 2000, microwaves were found in 90 percent of U.S. households.
It may be surprising, but the microwave oven was not an ‘ 80s invention. The first home microwave was launched in 1952 in the US. But, it did not catch on due to its hefty price tag, and due to the fact that it probably freaked people out. In the ’60s, several companies started producing the microwaves.
Also available were microwave ovens, ranging in price from $189.95 to $439.95. Of course, there’s been a good deal of dollar inflation since 1975. Judged by changes in the consumer-price index, what $100 bought in 1975 takes about $354 to buy today. So that six-digit calculator would today cost about $49.
The first microwave oven was called the Radarange, and today, there are over 200 million in use throughout the world.
Microwaves do have some downsides. For example, they may not be as effective as other cooking methods at killing bacteria and other pathogens that may lead to food poisoning. That’s because the heat tends to be lower and the cooking time much shorter. Sometimes, food heats unevenly.
If there isn’t a lot of margin, and there isn’t a lot of product differentiation, there isn’t much point in advertising. Some microwaves already have this – a silent mode – but not advertised enough. A silent microwave might get attention.
In 1980, according to Litton, the mean retail price of a microwave oven was $425. Today, while the range of prices is about $149 to $549, the mean has dropped to about $280.
Electrolytic capacitors These are not actually microwave -quality, but are often used as power supply filtering for microwave circuits. Electrolytic caps are polarized, meaning that you have to be careful which way you hook up DC voltages across them.
The Radarange, the first microwave oven, stood nearly 6 feet tall and weighed about 750 pounds. The tubes in the magnetron that generated the microwaves had to be water-cooled, so it required plumbing.
And of course, as technology becomes commonplace, the price goes down as well. In 1990 a much-smaller microwave with two power levels could be purchased for $99.98, which amounts to about $183 in today’s money.
Microwave oven You’d nuke your budget at the same time, though, as that’s the equivalent of $585 today.