THE DAY OUR MICROWAVE DIED…
Our microwave died the other day. I didn’t realize how much depended on it till we couldn’t use it. Of course, we immediately ordered another, on-line. There’s another thing depended on, the computer. It occurred to me that many things we take for granted these days are things that we wouldn’t have, were it not for remarkable innovations. Yet now that we have them, they are indispensable additions to our lives.
The microwave oven was patented in 1946 and the first microwave hit the market by 1947. The first microwave, called the Radarange, was ~6 feet tall, weighed over 750 pounds, and cost between $2,000 and $3,000 dollars(Try fitting that into your kitchen!). When the microwave initially hit the market, it was used mainly in “restaurants, railroad cars and ocean liners, where large quantities of food needed to be cooked quickly”. The first version of the microwave was not at all conducive to a kitchen setting, its expense and large size made it unpopular for the average American citizen.
The first microwave oven designed for home use was a 24-inch built-in oven, produced by the Tappan Stove Company around 1955. At $1295, they were considered a luxury and sales were moderate. In 1967, Amana introduced the first domestic countertop microwave oven. Priced at just under $500, the 115 volt “Radarange” was smaller, more reliable, and more affordable than its predecessors. Microwave cooking had arrived and microwave ovens would soon become a standard fixture and in home kitchens.
…And this…One of many current, improved microwaves
I picked this one because it looks a bit more “Space-Agey”. No front panel, stainless steel, just buttons and a dial.
Can you get along without a handy cell-phone any longer? I know I can’t, even though I rarely use it. But as I say very often “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it”. Kind of like an umbrella on a possibly rainy day. My cell-phone cost is extremely reasonable, and I’ve had it for years. So I no longer have to concern myself about having change for a public pay phone. Finding a pay-phone these days is a rarity anyway. If you missed the last bus home, just take the cell-phone out of your purse or pocket and call a cab or call home for a pick up. You can be reached no matter where you are. That doesn’t even begin to take in the “smart phones” and how useful they can be.
One of the earliest kinds of phones…
… A slice of cell phone history
How many people do you know that don’t have a TV of some kind? I don’t know any. Yet, once upon a time there was this remarkable innovation called radio. No pictures, just sound. “The Theater or TV of the Mind”, if you will. There were dramas, comedies, musical shows, serials, kiddie shows, varieties of all kinds of entertainment and news. People got along just fine, building scenes and location, sets and appearances of the actors or characters in their minds! Everyone had their own mental picture of what was happening and to whom it was happening. Some actually sat around the radio and watched it do nothing while they listened! Then along came TV! Now all there is on radio is DJ’s, and news, and some talk shows. That’s pretty much it.
Philco type lowboy console ca.1933
Admiral Radio ca. 1942
Probably the epitome of radios in their time, this was entertainment. In the ‘40’s radios didn’t change that much. If you’re interested in more:
TV has all sorts of variety on it, especially if you have cable or a dish. On the other hand so much on TV is time wasting, product selling drivel; it can be difficult finding something worth watching. However, I’d certainly rather channel-surf with a remote than hop up and down any time I wanted to change channels. The remote? Another indispensible item. Who would have dreamed during radio days the someday you’d be able not only to see the shows on a screen in your own home, but we could actually record them directly off the air? Have a favorite movie? Wait a while and record the movie from your television, it’s perfectly legal, too. That helped the demise of “Blockbuster” in a way. It’s certainly less bother to record it yourself than chase out to rent or worry about returning it on time. I’m not sure why anyone needs “Netflix”, etc. these days. Most people have DVR’s now too. At one time we had VCR’s, video tape is almost obsolete now. Which brings me back to making recordings and watching with the computer
Early TV Set, B&W, of course…
complete with DVR.
Of course, you can do much more with a computer than watch or record entertainment. The web has made the world much smaller. We even converse regularly via Skype with distant friends and relatives. No long distance charges either, no matter where you connect. We shop, do research, read the news; there’s hardly anything you can’t find on the web, it’s genuinely useful for so much. It’s also a great source of all kinds of merchandise, information, fun, business, etc., etc. I don’t understand how some cannot fathom why a computer is so useful. I know people who wouldn’t touch one with a ten foot pole. It scares them for some reason. As a semi-geek, I would feel lost without one. I’ve been using a PC almost since they came out!
My first computer, the Commodore C64 ca. 1980’s!
Would you believe that old monitor still works, and is used for utilitarian purposes, like checking a recording or even watching a currently running TV show, if we’re in the computer area. The monitors could be switched from the computer display and PAL to TV display! still works for that too!
Our Most Recent PC…
Our latest PC is a DIY. We bought the case and components separately and installed them all! Not as hard as you might think! Yes, the case has LED’s built in! Of course, we now have a flat-screen HD monitor screen to go with it.
Of course, this is just a short list of things we didn’t have before that we “need” to have now. I wonder what’s next?