Easy-Bake Oven

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Second version of the Easy-Bake oven - the Premier model - released in 1969
The first three versions of the Easy-Bake oven

The Easy-Bake Oven is a working toy oven which Kenner introduced in 1963, and which Hasbro still manufactured as of late May 2017[1]. The original toy used a pair of ordinary incandescent light bulbs as a heat source; current versions use a true heating element. Kenner sold 500,000 Easy-Bake Ovens in the first year of production.[2]:8 By 1997, more than 16 million Easy-Bake Ovens (in 11 models) had been sold.[3]

The oven comes with packets of cake mix and small round pans. (Additional mixes can be purchased separately.) After water is added to the mix in the pan, it is pushed into the oven through a slot.[3] After cooking, the cake is pushed out through a slot in the other end.

Kenner versions[edit]

The Easy-Bake Oven was introduced in 1963 by Kenner Products, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based toy company. The original Kenner Easy-Bake Oven was heated by two 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, came in a pale yellow or turquoise, and was designed to resemble a conventional oven.[4][5] The design changed many times over the years. An updated "Premier" model, available in avocado green or red, was released in 1969, followed by a "Mod" model in yellow or light green in 1971. A more recent model resembled a microwave oven.

A one-of-a-kind model was presented to the winner of the 5,000,000th Easy-Bake Oven Sweepstakes in 1972.[2]:117

Kenner licensed the Easy-Bake Oven to international markets. Japan represented a significant opportunity for Kenner. The toy oven was licensed to Nakajima Corporation, which sold its version as Margaret's Cooking Oven.[6]

Marketing[edit]

In 1962, Kenner created the Gooney Bird as part of its marketing efforts. The new corporate mascot was primarily used as part of the company logo, appearing on most product packaging along with the company slogan, “It’s Kenner, It’s Fun!” The bird was also used in trade publications and advertisements with the tagline, “This bird means business!”

In 1968, Kenner approached Muppet creator Jim Henson to create a Muppet version of the Gooney Bird. The bird appeared in Easy-Bake Oven commercials with child actress Barbara Price. The Gooney Bird became so popular that Henson refurbished the character as Little Bird, Big Bird's smaller counterpart, in early seasons of Sesame Street.[2]:114

Hasbro versions[edit]

After Kenner became a division of Hasbro, which then closed it down, Hasbro continued to produce the oven.[7] The Easy-Bake Oven and Snack Center was introduced in 1993.

A decade after the Easy-Bake Oven and Snack Center was introduced, the Real Meal Oven was released. This oven was different from the others in being able to cook larger portions, and two of them at once, using two pans at the same time. It won the 2003 Best Toy Parenting magazine Toy of the Year Award. The neutral colors were more accepted across gender lines, and were favored by parents, particularly in the midst of queries and complaints over versions not being offered for male children. The Real Meal pans were larger than the Easy Bake ones, and it could bake both desserts and main courses. Also, this model featured a heating element and did not require a light bulb.[citation needed]

In 2006, a different version of the Easy-Bake was released, featuring a stove-top warmer and a heating element. But like Hasbro's first version, it had smaller pans, and it could only bake one pan at a time.[citation needed] But the new front-loading Hasbro design, a substantial departure from the traditional push-through arrangement, was ill-conceived, as all (approx. 985,000) such units were recalled over safety concerns and reported injuries.[8]

The oven was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2006.[9]

In 2011, the last version to use a 100-watt incandescent light bulb was replaced by a new version with a dedicated heating element, titled Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven. The replacement was due to the availability of better alternatives to the incandescent light bulbs that heated previous versions of the Easy-Bake Oven.[10] It was feared that newer lamp requirements would rendered all models that used light bulbs as their heating elements obsolete because lamps would no longer be available. (The company never provided initial or replacement bulbs.)[11] [12] (Fortunately, these fears proved to be premature since 100 watt lamps are still provided for specialty purposes and as long as the lamp still used 100 watts, it would still cook exactly the same.)

In 2012, Hasbro announced the premiere of a version of the Easy-Bake Oven in black and silver after executives met with McKenna Pope, a girl from New Jersey who had started a Change.org petition asking the toy maker to offer the product in gender-neutral packaging.[13] The prototype Easy-Bake Oven was also made available in blue.[14] The redesigned product was slated to be unveiled in February 2013, at the New York Toy Fair.

Recall[edit]

After a release of a new model in May 2006, Hasbro received reports of 29 children getting their hands or fingers caught in the front-loading door, including 5 reports of burns. In February 2007, Hasbro and the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a voluntary recall of the oven and advised parents to stop using the oven with children under the age of 8 and contact the company for a free retrofit kit.[15] The kit was approved by the CPSC and consisted of a plastic grate that fit over the existing oven door. The grate allowed the oven to function as designed, but it now provided an additional barrier to keep small fingers out.

Despite the retrofit program, the problems persisted. According to data from the CPSC, an additional 249 reported incidents included 77 burns, 16 of which were second- or third-degree in nature. On July 19th 2007, Hasbro re-issued its voluntary recall of the Easy-Bake after learning that part of a 5-year-old girl's finger had to be amputated because of a severe burn.[16] The recall affected 985,000 ovens that had been sold between May 2006 and July 2007.[17] Ovens sold prior to May 2006 were not part of the recall, leaving more than 25 million side-entry/light bulb models in circulation unaffected.[2]:18–19

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Kenner History". Kenner Collector. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Coopee, Todd (September 2013). Light Bulb Baking: A History of the Easy-Bake Oven (First ed.). Canada: Sonderho Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-9917484-0-2.
  3. ^ a b "The Easy-Bake Oven, Gourmet Style" (with audio link), National Public Radio Morning Edition, December 8, 2003. Retrieved Nov. 11, 2006.
  4. ^ US patent 3368063, Kuhn, James O., "Toy oven", published 1968-02-06, issued 1968-02-06, assigned to Kenner Products Company 
  5. ^ "Easy Bake Oven inducted 2006". Retrieved 20 June 2011.
  6. ^ Coopee, Todd. "Margaret's Cooking Oven from Nakajima Corporation (1976)". ToyTales.ca.
  7. ^ USA Today, "Easy-Bake loses its bulb, gets a makeover", Associated Press, 14 September 2011
  8. ^ "Nearly 1 million toy ovens recalled", CNN.com. February 6, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2007.
  9. ^ Associated Press. "Easy-Bake Oven enters Toy Hall of Fame", MSNBC.com. 9 November 2006. retrieved 11 November 2006.
  10. ^ ABC News, "Easy-Bake Oven Loses Light Bulb, Gets $20 Makeover", Susanna Kim, 14 September 2011
  11. ^ The Post-Star, "The Easy way out", 4 September 2011
  12. ^ Cleveland Live."Halogen light bulbs fill spot as old-fashioned incandescent bulbs disappear", John Funk, 10 September 2011
  13. ^ Hasbro to unveil black and silver Easy-Bake Oven after teen's petition
  14. ^ Teen’s online campaign convinces Hasbro to make gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven
  15. ^ "Easy-Bake Ovens Recalled for Repair Due to Entrapment and Burn Hazards" Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine, Consumer Products Safety Commission. 6 February 2007. retrieved 14 May 2008.
  16. ^ “New Easy-Bake Oven Recall Following Partial Finger Amputation; Consumers Urged to Return Toy Ovens”, Hasbro, Inc. Undated. retrieved on 22 April 2009.
  17. ^ "Nearly 1 million toy ovens recalled", CNN.com. February 6, 2007. Retrieved February 6, 2007.

External links[edit]