Global production of Sharp’s microwave ovens passed the 100 million mark in April 2005, the highest level of any manufacturer in the world. It took 43 years to achieve this milestone, which Sharp embarked upon when it began mass-production of commercial-use microwave ovens for hotels and restaurants in Japan in April 1962.
Sharp began the R&D of microwave ovens in 1960, with the aim of creating a next-generation product to succeed the television. In 1962, Sharp was the first company in Japan to begin mass-production of commercial-use microwave ovens. (The price at the time was 540,000 yen, when an automobile cost approximately 500,000 yen.) Sharp’s microwave ovens were used in places such as restaurants, dining cars of trains, Olympic villages, and bakeries (often for making hot-dogs), and gathered much attention as the “dream cooking appliance of the 20th century that cooks without a flame.”
In 1965, Sharp was first in the industry to hire specially trained female employees dedicated to the development of cooking software. For the 40 years since then, this division has been active in a wide spectrum of activities concerning microwave ovens, ranging from menu and product development to marketing and sales.