End of an Era

Back when Microwave Ovens were really becoming standard equipment for the typical kitchen, I bought my first Microwave from the Navy Exchange while stationed in Rota Spain. I don’t recall what we paid for it, but it wasn’t cheap. It was a Panasonic NE-8050 in the 700 Watt range*.

The reason I’m bringing it up is because not only was that the first Microwave I purchased, up until about a week ago, it was the ONLY microwave I’ve ever purchased.

That beast made it through multiple Permanent Changes of Station, moves within this region, kitchen remodels, the abuse of 2 kids from when the oldest was just a baby through their teenage years and beyond, probably hundreds of thousands of uses.

The only issue I’d ever had with it was after one move, it had apparently been jarred hard enough to dislodge the plastic insulation sheet between the control buttons and the switches. I was able to fix it without much trouble.

Well, about two weeks ago, I noticed that the turntable had stopped turning. It would lurch every once in a while, but wouldn’t rotate, making the food heat unevenly.

I could most likely fix it again, but a couple of factors led my wife and I to just decide to put the old girl out to pasture (the Microwave, not my wife).

First, it’s so old, even fixing the turntable won’t ensure longevity. Something major like the magnetron could go at any time so I could fix it this week and next week it could go out again.

Second, it’s only 700 Watts. Modern microwaves, even the little cheap ones, are generally more powerful than that. Getting a new one would mean faster reheat and cook times. We just decided it was worth it to modernize.

We ended up buying another highly rated Panasonic unit, this one 1250 Watts, about the same size (it’s wider and deeper but not quite as tall). This one was made in Korea rather than Japan so who knows whether it’s built to the same quality as the old one. I guess we’ll know in a few decades if we live that long. To be honest, I’m not expecting it to last past a decade. More likely 5 years or so. They just don’t make them like they used to.

Anyway, For posterity sake, here’s the model plate with the manufacture date from the venerable old warhorse.

After 38 years of service, here’s wishing our trusty old Microwave fair winds and following seas; enjoy your retirement.

*Bonus internet points if you get the vague movie reference from about the same time frame.

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