On December 6, 1954, the NY Times ran a story describing a brand new invention that could cook an 18-pound roast of beef in twenty minutes, a chicken in 9, an apple pie in 6, and could heat up a steak in one minute.
This new cooking machine was to be marketed as the Radarange and used microwaves to heat up the food. While nearly everyone today owns a microwave oven, the initial high cost of these models was sure to keep the average buyer away. A table model was to sell for $1,875 ($16,700 today) and a wall model was to be priced at $2,975 ($26,500 today). Appliance manufacturer Tappan was in the testing phase of this newfangled contraption and estimated that they would have a home version on the market in the year to come.
I did a quick check and apparently, only thirty-four microwave ovens were sold in 1955, the first full year that they were on sale. When production was discontinued in 1964, a grand total of 1,396 units had been purchased. It wasn’t until the price significantly dropped and the ovens made more compact that sales started to take off.