When Percy reached into his coat pocket he felt a wet clumpy mass there instead of his favourite chocolate bar. He was stunned.
As the Senior VP at Raytheon, US’s largest defence manufacturer, he was working on electromagnetic equipment. Chocolate bars got him through long hours at work. But why is it a gooey mess now?
He was always curious. As a geeky lad of 16 he boldly signed up to install electricity in a factory. In 1912 England, electric power was new. He taught himself by trial and error and became an expert. Later in the Navy, he stayed up nights and studied to become their top wireless expert.
During WW2, the sensitive magnetrons he built to be fitted onto the RAF bombers were so good that the radars could detect German subs from great heights and destroy them.
And now this melted chocolate got him working.
He next put some corn kernels next to the tube. Popcorn burst all over the lab. And a colleague who peeped in to look at an egg next to it, had yolk splashed on his face.
Percy Spencer may have accidentally invented the Microwave Oven on that day in 1945. But none of his 300 patents were due to chance. A lad who could not finish grammar school and had no formal schooling powered his innate curiosity with hard work and became a great inventor.
‘The educated scientist knows many things won’t work. Percy doesn’t know what can’t be done. Like Edison, he will cut and fit and try and throwaway and try again.’ said the MIT on him.
Everyone gets curious. Only a few make it work for greatness.
This archived Readers’s Digest piece provides a glimpse into his curious mind