What a bright idea! Power a real baking oven with an ordinary, household light bulb. The best part is that the play makes its own reward. Fifteen minutes in the oven and a slurpy, gooey, doughy concoction becomes a delicious—okay, edible—confection.
In the early 1960s, pretzel vendors on New York City streets inspired toy makers at Kenner, Inc. to make the Easy-Bake Oven. Anticipating parents’ concerns about safety, Kenner substituted two 100-watt light bulbs for a heating element to minimize the possibility of burnt fingers. Accompanied by special cake and cookie mixes, a recipe book, utensils, and slide-thru bake pans, the oven debuted in fashionable turquoise and pale yellow. Through the years, the design of the oven has changed, but not its popularity. Since 1963, more than 23 million have been sold, and more than 140 million mixes have been baked into yummy, yummy treats.