Fad-Tastic! The Easy-Bake Oven

    April 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    There is a reason they are called fads. It’s because they disappeared just as quickly as they blew up in popularity.

    Today’s Subject: Easy-Bake Ovens

    The Easy-Bake Oven is a working toy oven introduced by Kenner in 1963. It’s currently manufactured by Hasbro. The original toy used an ordinary incandescent light bulb as a heat source but current versions use a true heating element. By 1997 more than 16 million Easy-Bake Ovens had been sold.

    Here are some things you probably didn’t know about the Easy-Bake oven:

    The original Easy-Bake Oven was designed to resemble a conventional oven. Today’s Easy-Bake Ovens resemble microwave ovens.

    The Easy-Bake Oven was invented by Ronald Howes who was inspired to make the oven after hearing a Kenner salesman report how chestnuts were roasted by street vendors in New York City.

    Howes also was involved in the creation of or refinement to a number of other Kenner Toy products, including Spirograph, Give-a-Show Projector, and Close-and-Play Record Player.

    The Easy-Bake Oven and Snack Center (the Hasbro version) was introduced in 1993. It is powered by a 100 watt light bulb that was sold separately from the oven. Another, sleeker design was introduced later.

    A decade later, the Real Meal Oven was released. It won the Toy of the Year Award from Parenting magazine in 2003. Unlike previous versions, this oven could bake two pans at once.

    In 2006, a different version of the Easy-Bake was released, featuring a stove-top warmer, and a heating element.

    The toy oven was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2006.

    1. aersixb9 says:

      Why not just use a regular oven? Actually microwave ovens probably replaced these, not sure why you would want a light bulb instead of an electric heating coil? Also most ovens only go up to 500 degrees, which is kind of weak, even compared to something like a wood fire which can smelt metal, but is not temperature controlled.

      Cooking is a chemical reaction that occurs at a certain temperature, while burning happens at a higher one. So the goal in cooking is to get the entire piece of food to around 350 degrees without increasing the temperature of the edges over 450 degrees, which is where most food will burn. A thermostat controlled oven works great for this, you can set it to 350 and other than drying/hardening (if that happens use a smaller number) your food will not burn.

      I should note that the label of “oven” changes when you increase that number, and I think it’s legally and arbitrarily limited currently. With a max of up to 2000 degrees, it’s called a ‘kiln’, whereas with a cap of around 4000+ degrees it’s called a forge, smelter, or crucible (sort of on that last one). This seems kind of arbitrary to me with modern technology, and I for one would love a 4000+ maxed out kitchen oven that will happily do 350 or 450, along with the ability to put a fork in it, set it to 2600 for 15 minutes, pull the fork out with some tongs and reshape it into a nicer fork, or melt on some metal rods that were also heated in the oven with a little torch.

      This seems practical to me because I’m pretty sure it’s a safety issue and not a cost issue. I should also note that glowing metal is the only metal that’s so hot it will kill or cripple you quickly, and is visible.

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