History of Technology 5: Microwaves and Vacuums

Microwaves and vacuums are two of our favorite inventions, and they go together so well. Seriously, every time we drop our microwaved popcorn on the floor, who's there to pick it up? That's right...our handy-dandy vacuum. That said, we could stand to be more careful when we eat.

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TechnologyHistory of Technology

Transcript

00:26

way to quickly make popcorn. yeah I cook mushy sort of gross pizza and cause

00:31

explosions with mere silverware. but to what mysterious process do we owe all

00:37

these joys. while microwaves use radiation to make the molecules in our

00:41

food jitter around and create thermal energy .for all those non scientists out

00:47

there thermal energy is heat. while the path from discovering radiation to [pizza in a microwave]

00:52

selling a tiny radiation using microwave oven was not an easy one first microwave

00:58

oven went on sale in 1947 and it costs five thousand dollars and weighed more

01:04

than 700 pounds. oh by the 1970s microwaves were still a luxury item it

01:10

wasn't until they figured out how to make them smaller and cheaper than [man sits on bed and cries]

01:13

microwaves became the best friends of college students and lonely bachelors

01:17

all over the world. well the biggest appeal of microwaves

01:21

besides the fact that they're great for exploding peeps, that ether was that they [girl smiles next to exploding microwave]

01:26

seriously sped up the cooking process. microwaves are the most spectacular of a

01:31

slew of appliances designed to make cooking faster and easier, and partly

01:36

that's because more people were working out of their homes and fewer women were [woman on the phone]

01:41

staying home cook three-course meals every night.

01:44

more than anything well microwaves were about a vision of the future.

01:48

they seemed you know sciency high techy and super modern. [woman reads crystal ball]

01:53

another key appliance besides microwave was but vacuum cleaner.

01:57

now some out there probably think there's nothing interesting to learn

02:00

about vacuums but how's about this .well the world's first vacuum cleaner was

02:05

horse pulled. just let that sink in .a vacuum cleaner pulled by a horse. yep this [horse pulls modern vacuum]

02:12

horse-drawn system reared its head in the early 1900s and it also involved

02:17

dudes hand cranking giant pumps. well in 1907 a handheld model was developed .that

02:24

model was only a fan in a pillowcase stuck to a broom, but they did evolve [two men show first vacuum]

02:29

into the Hoover company. yep vacuums are an interesting case study because well

02:34

who actually needs a vacuum? like ovens and microwaves are used to prepare food

02:38

but a vacuum that's just a fancy method of moving around dirt except that every

02:43

household in America has one. anyway well why is that [woman vacuums rug]

02:47

well again vacuums save labor. previously people had to drag their rugs outside

02:52

and beat them or sweep themselves to death inside. why not make electricity do

02:58

the work? but here's something else to think about. once something can be easily

03:02

cleaned it starts to change our standards of what's clean and what isn't.

03:07

well vacuum lines on the rug or one of those things we associate with a nice

03:11

clean house right? well a house isn't considered clean if the rugs are simply [frowning woman beats rug]

03:16

beaten. then let's face it beating rugs isn't very humane. hey old school

03:21

housewives, what did those rugs ever do to you?