A baked potato in four minutes, bacon in 90 seconds, a four-pound roast in 36 minutes? This is a convenience we've become accustomed to with modern microwave ovens. In 1956, these new "electronic ranges" promised to revolutionize cooking.
Mrs. Allen Johnson of Salisbury was "the happy owner of one of the first electronic ranges in North Carolina," having purchased her oven through a distributor since they were not yet on the retail market.
The Allen Johnsons have owned it for just a few weeks, but already it is a big conversation piece, and guests always adjourn to the kitchen to see the electronic marvel demonstrated.
Billie and Allen saw it first at a home and garden show in Charlotte.
"Allen was completely fascinated," says Billie, "but I wasn't nearly so intrigued because I couldn't see how I could get a table set and ready in the 90 seconds it takes to cook breakfast."
But Allen's enthusiasm prevailed -- and in a matter of weeks a handsome stainless steel oven arrived for installation in the Johnson's kitchen, an appliance just a little larger than a table TV set, connected to a 220 outlet.
"Have a microwave potato," Billie offered. "sometimes when I say that, people are afraid that they will be radiated or something, but there's no danger of anything like that," she laughed.
In fact, one of the big selling points of the electronic oven is its safety. When you open its metal door, the timer and the heat automatically go off. Also you can not feel heat as you stand in front of the oven because the microwaves are too big to come through the holes in the metal grill.
The ranges are not yet on the retail market but soon will be -- and maybe in five years anything else will be strictly outmoded. Already the Johnson children consider the family's modern electric stove in this category!
Because the new electronic ovens will revolutionize cooking, a special built-in cooking file is a feature of the ranges. It gives all the new-fangled, but necessary, information to pre-electronic cooks!
-- The News & Observer, 4/29/1956