Microwave Oven, 1976
In the 1970s, food companies expanded their offerings of frozen, microwavable dinners and snacks to meet the demands of busy families and individuals with complex schedules or no inclination to cook. Many Americans became increasingly dependent on prepared foods, fast-food restaurants and other on-the-go meal options.
This 1976 model was manufactured in Japan by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. for J.C. Penney and was sold to Jeff and Jan Thompson for $261.35, including tax and an Assurance Performance Plan. They donated it to the National Museum of American History in 2006. Unlike modern microwaves, this model features a door hinged at the top with a multisided observation window to watch the cooking process and a 15-minute timer for precise cooking.
For more information on this microwave oven, visit the National Museum of American History’s collection page.
To learn more about food and the American experience, visit FOOD: Transforming the American Table, 1950-2000.