And the answer: Easy-Bake Oven.
The inspiration for the Easy-Bake Oven was found in the early 1960s from pretzel vendors on New York City streets. Toy makers at Kenner, Inc. wanted to make a toy that could bake treats using the warmth of a lightbulb, but they decided to use a heating element to minimize the possibility of burns. Since 1963, 30 million Easy-Bake Ovens have been sold, each with a unique design and increased safety measures.
Just before the holiday season of 1963, the first Easy-Bake Ovens hit the shelves. The original Easy-Bake Oven hardly resembled its successors, using a single iridescent bulb to heat food up to a whopping 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the rudimentary design, the original Easy-Bake Oven sold 500,000 units in its first year, going for $15 a pop. While that might not seem like a whole lot to us in 2022, that price is equal to around $100 today when adjusted for inflation!
Over the years, Easy-Bake Ovens continued to change in appearance—eventually evolving from their small, teal or pale pink design, to new aesthetics reflective of the time period. For instance, in the 70s, you could buy an Easy-Bake Oven with fake wood paneling (seems pretty groovy to me!). By the 90s, though, Easy-Bake had finally established its classic pale pink and purple color palette, which persisted for several decades.
Another appealing element of the Easy-Bake Oven was, of course, its delicious creations. In the early 70s, Betty Crocker-branded mixes began to be sold alongside the Easy-Bake Oven, legitimizing its ability to create recognizable desserts. By the time the design had swapped the lightbulb out for a heater, snacks of all kinds could be created in the Easy-Bake Oven.
Did you know?
Yesterday, November 4th, was National Easy-Bake Oven Day! This wildly popular appliance has made appearances in How I Met Your Mother, MadTV, Seinfeld, and many other shows and movies over the years. It’s even featured in the third season of Friends, when Monica says becoming a real chef “has been, like, my dream, since I got my first Easy-Bake Oven and opened Easy Monica’s Bakery.”
Learn more about Easy-Bake Ovens here.