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Old 16th Jul 2023, 3:55 pm   #1
Roger Ramjet
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Default Our First Microwave Oven

Just asked my neighbor what she got for her birthday & she moaned it was a microwave oven but told the family to take it back because her dinner plates would not fit inside !

It got me thinking about our first microwave. It was a Toshiba Deltawave that we purchased from Henry Wigfall's electrical superstore in Leicester during the consumer driven days of the 80"s. Reckon it cost getting on for £300 so we used interest free credit option.

The Toshiba was a natty looking unit with a smoked perspex front & greenish fluorescent display. It never broke down & was still working when we replaced it for a smaller one to match our undersized 1960's kitchen.

Looking back, I wish we still had it & I bet it would still be working.

The advert was just as good - HELLO TOSH, GOTTA TOSHIBA

Rog

PS I never knew what a Deltawave was until Doctor Who was going to use them against the Daleks in that fantastic episode .... "Parting Of The Ways".

Last edited by Roger Ramjet; 16th Jul 2023 at 3:56 pm. Reason: typo
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 5:21 pm   #2
duncanlowe
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

My first was Bejam branded. My Wifes first was a Toshiba, bought after we met but before we married. She and her family had never had microwaves, she was the first after we met and learned I had one. Her mum bough the exact same model and used it for years. Both of those Toshes developed the same fault: something wrong with the microswitch interlock on the door, that seemed to make it run with the door open. MiLs was fixed under an extended warranty. We also bought the same Tosh model for SiL as a wedding present and it was skipped while working perfectly.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 6:17 pm   #3
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Toshiba and Sharp were big players in the consumer microwave market when it first took off in the late 70s. Their models were pricey but built like tanks. The marketing was bizarre, suggesting you could cook anything in them including large chickens and even complete family roast dinners.

Bejam were a frozen food supermarket like Iceland, but they went through a period of trying to sell white goods, primarily chest freezers but also other kitchen electricals. Presumably these were supplied badged by OEMs.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 6:39 pm   #4
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Smile Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Hi,
Our first microwave back in the early 80s was a Tricity that we bought through the local electricity board shop. I worked for the C.E.G.B. at the time and was eligible for a 20% discount.
It had no electronics and gave very little trouble apart from the drive gear to the glass turntable. This was driven from the fan motor via a gearbox and the coupling failed once or twice.
Our second one is a Panasonic (in a green case) bought in 1993 and still going well. It even has the original lamp. I've opened it once or twice in that time to clean out the fluff & dust from the air cooling passages.
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 6:54 pm   #5
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Likewise - a Deltawave 665 purchased from Comet for £199 in September 1987.
Paid for with the £200 I received from Solartron for 20 years service - just before I resigned.
It has needed a replacement capacitor (and fuse) and a couple of light bulbs in that time - still used several times a day.
The blue and red colours in the pic are just reflections.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 7:23 pm   #6
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

There was a price crash at the end of the 80s as the Korean manufacturers got involved. The typical price for a basic microwave went from over £200+ to under 3 figures in just a couple of years.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 7:42 pm   #7
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

My Sharp microwave with clockwork timer lasted untill last year 42 years with only 1 service call out to replace the timer under 12mths old. Sharp sent us a voucher for a weekend microwave cooking course. All for about £800 in 1980. The magnatron failed, oc heaters. The new replacement steams,grills and microwaves. I don't think that it will last as long but the cooking cavity is still as large as the sharp, it takes a large cooking dome and will cook a 4-5 lb chicken. Bob
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 7:45 pm   #8
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Quote:
Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post

Bejam were a frozen food supermarket like Iceland, but they went through a period of trying to sell white goods, primarily chest freezers but also other kitchen electricals. Presumably these were supplied badged by OEMs.
Their microwaves were often by Brother. Solid and reliable.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 8:16 pm   #9
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

got my first one in the 80's a comet special (proline) with a discount voucher that i think was in the Sun newspaper ,which got in in for under a 100 pound still got it, still going strong ,its never missed a beat
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 8:17 pm   #10
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

My first was a Moffat, supplied in the UK by Thorn, but made in the USA. No turntable but a stirrer fan in the feed at the top of the oven. We bought it in the early 70’s from a wholesale outlet because the local electricity board said they would never be sold by them as they were dangerous. Two mechanical timers, one for up to 5 minutes and the other up to 30 minutes. Very large unit. Bought a new one in 1992 that could be built in when we had a new kitchen fitted. The old one was given to a friend and was still working in 2010. They don’t make them like that these days. It’s replacement lasted 30 years. Not sure how long my current one will last.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 8:30 pm   #11
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Ours, which must have been bought at least 25 years ago, is a Kenwood, which I think came from Comet and was the simplest (and cheapest) one they did.

It gets used every day for things like heating milk and cooking vegetables other than potatoes. Easy to use controls, one knob for power, another operating the mechanical timer for time. I got one of the same type for mum when she was in her late 80's and no longer able to cook her meals from raw produce and had to use ready meals, and she easily picked up how to use it.

Conversely, one that was bought for the kitchen at work was overly-complex, with a keypad and numerical display, very clever with a clock and programmable timer for turning itself on at a selected time (which we never needed) but which involved a lot of button-pressing to simply make a hot drink.
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Old 16th Jul 2023, 8:53 pm   #12
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

First I ever saw was in Dillons cake shop on the historic Pulteney Bridge here in Bath. It would have been around 1969 and was shaped like one of those table top beer fridges that are popular nowadays. I think that it was probably a Toshiba, but I was only eight at the time so could not be certain. Light blue with chrome accents, quite mystifying at the time.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 10:04 am   #13
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

First Microwave oven I used was in the US during one of our family visits some time in the early 70s. It was a big built in thing, branded Tappan.

My parents acquired a microwave, a stand alone type, when we returned home. It got replaced a couple of years later, with a proper built in one during a kitchen refurb.

Over the last 4 decades I have probably owned about 20 different microwaves, having done lots of house moves. Can't really remember much about them, to me they have always been just domestic appliances and not really worth much interest.

Current one here is a standalone Sharp, at least 8 years old. Will be replaced by a built in one in the next year or so when I refurb the kitchen. I like built in microwaves because you can fit them with a proper through the wall vent so the steam and cooking smells don't hang around in the kitchen for hours after cooking.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 10:11 am   #14
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Over the last 4 decades I have probably owned about 20 different microwaves, having done lots of house moves. Can't really remember much about them, to me they have always been just domestic appliances and not really worth much interest.
You're bucking the trend here

Worst one we ever had was a built-in Hotpoint from Wickes two or three years ago. Expensive (about £500), unreliable, and needed the instruction manual to do the most basic of things as its user interface was so counterintuitive.

Currently, using a 15 year-old Sharp which cost under £50 new. Just a transformer, rectifier, cap, magnetron and mechanical timer. Utterly reliable, delightfully easy to use, would be easy to fix if it ever goes wrong.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 5:17 pm   #15
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Our first was a Moffat, bought from the Co-Op around 1978. Built like a tank, with a mechanical timer with a bell that went 'ting!', not a bleeper as in my current Asda-badged one. If you were busy when the cooking finished in the Moffat, it didn't nag you with repeated beeps!

I can only recall one timer and no power adjustment. There was a hidden rotating device for spreading the centimetric goodness. Slow-pulsed rasps appeared on LW when in operation.

It would have been thrown out amidst familial changes after about 10 years.

Are the current microwave ovens able to withstand operation without any liquid inside? Friends of mine would put dry, empty dinner plates in their Panasonic to heat up before a meal. I advised against this, to no avail.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 5:26 pm   #16
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Microwaves have been immune to the no load in the cavity thing for decades, my late mother would try and warm up plates in hers despite my admonishment. Never killed a Magnetron but it still made me nervous.

One chipped plate exploded, I suspect water had entered through the rather large chip in the glaze then turned to steam.

It was a good excuse for us to throw away all her extensive collection of ancient chipped crockery and take her to Dunelm to get some new stuff.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 5:50 pm   #17
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

I wouldn't run a microwave without something to absorb the RF energy. It's just asking for trouble.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 6:48 pm   #18
Graham G3ZVT
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

I agree with Paul, operating with no load will overheat the Magnetron. There is a self resetting thermal switch bolted to it, but they are notoriously slow acting. What can happen is one or both ring magnets crack with the heat, instently resulting in the cessation of microwaves.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 7:17 pm   #19
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Though it always worried me, not having anything in the cavity was designed-out as a risk issue in the early-60s.

From Wikipedia: "In the 1960s,[specify] Litton bought Studebaker's Franklin Manufacturing assets, which had been manufacturing magnetrons and building and selling microwave ovens similar to the Radarange. Litton developed a new configuration of the microwave oven: the short, wide shape that is now common. The magnetron feed was also unique. This resulted in an oven that could survive a no-load condition: an empty microwave oven where there is nothing to absorb the microwaves."

If your microwave fails because someone turns it on while there's nothing in the cavity, someone has seriously screwed-up. The patents for Litton's innovation are long-since expired and so the IP is available for anyone to use.
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Old 17th Jul 2023, 7:29 pm   #20
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Default Re: Our First Microwave Oven

Some modern microwaves have a thermistor clipped to the magnetron heatsink which helps to mitigate running them empty, but it's the exception rather than the rule. Our first microwave was a Creda (Litton) in the late 70's and I was proud when I saw our local chip shop had the same model for heating the pies. I think the Moffats were rebadged Tappans, also imported from the US. Litton became Menumaster and when I was old enough to use the 4th year self service canteen, they had a stack of them in there for heating your vending machine pies. The naughty kids would buy wine gums and put one in the oven until it caught fire and began arcing. Not sure who taught them that.
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