7 tech inventions we can’t believe people actually lived without

From GPS to microwaves to vacuums, we sure are glad someone had the ingenuity (and time) to think up these handy items.

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Microwave ovens became popular for household use in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Microwave ovens became popular for household use in the late 1970s and early 1980s. (Photo: Kostenko Maxim/Shutterstock)

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Microwave oven

What would we do with all those leftovers if we didn't have a quick, easy way to reheat them? You can thank Percy Spencer, an American self-taught engineer, for making sure you never have to eat cold dinners. In 1945, he discovered that microwave radiation from an active radar set was melting the candy bar in his pocket. So like any great inventor, he turned an accident into an opportunity: He fed microwave power into a metal box, creating a high-density electromagnetic field that increases the temperature of food. His invention was tested at a Boston restaurant and became popular for commercial use, but the microwave didn't start entering people's homes until the late 1970s.

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