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Fifty Years of Easy Bake Oven: A Gallery of Goodness

History of the Easy Bake Oven

The year was 1978. The season was Christmas. And the activity was a serious one: the annual writing of letters to Santa by my little sister, brother and myself. I don’t remember what else I asked Santa Claus for that year, but I know that after reminding him of my many stellar accomplishments during the previous 12 months, I made it abundantly clear that I REALLY, REALLY wanted that groovy Easy Bake Oven featured in that year’s Sears Wish Book.

I am sure that I loved all my Christmas gifts that year. Santa was always exceptionally good to us Allison kids. However, I will never forget the sting on that particular Christmas morning of rushing down the stairs only to realize that while Santa had indeed delivered the much-longed for Easy Bake Oven, he’d somehow made a terrible error… AND BROUGHT IT FOR MY LITTLE SISTER.

Easy Bake Oven Vintage

This is the Easy Bake model that my sister Betsy got for Christmas in the late 70s.

 

Oh sure, I was having fun with my new Simon electronic game, and I enjoyed watching my little brother wrestle with his bendy new Stretch Armstrong action figure (the one with the bandaids, no less). I didn’t want to seem ungrateful. However, all day on Christmas that year, I remember sneaking longing glances at my little sister as she happily prepared a variety of wee and tasty baked goods for all of us to enjoy.

 

That evening, with all three of us kids exhausted from a day of Christmas mania, we all settled in to watch something on TV, and what should my wondering eyes should appear but a commercial for the Easy Bake Oven that I had not received as requested. Life, I decided, could certainly be cruel.

 

Happily for me, my little sister was very nice about sharing, and she and I enjoyed many happy afternoons together baking and pretending to bake in her spiffy red Easy Bake Oven. At one point our little brother got in big trouble for attempting to melt some of his tiny green plastic army men inside the Easy Bake, but my mother was able to scrape all the military residue out of the Oven’s innards, and regular cake baking resumed. The Easy Bake was huge fun, and Betsy and I played with it well into middle school.

It’s hard to believe, but by that Christmas of 1978, the Easy Bake Oven had already been a favorite American toy for 25 years. Invented by a fellow named Ronald Howes, Sr. (see photo gallery below), and introduced in 1963, the Easy Bake was an instant hit with kids – mostly girls, truth be told – all over the country. In fact,  in that first year of 1963 alone, at least a half a million Easy Bake Ovens were sold. 

The look of the Easy Bake Oven has evolved over the years, offering a glimpse of each generation’s evolving style aesthetic. The 70s saw harvest gold and avocado green Easy Bakes, while 1980s models included versions resembling a giant microwave oven, as well as one or two that remind me of early Macintosh computers. However, no matter how the look of the Easy Bake changed, kids’ love for this enduring classic never has. In 2006, the Easy Bake was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, and as of today, it’s estimated that more than 23 million Easy Bakes have been sold, with upwards of 140 million Easy Bake mixes stirred and baked into delicious little treats.

Last weekend, my sister Betsy (yep, the sister who got that Easy Bake Oven that I was supposed to get) and I had SO much fun introducing our three youngest daughters – five year olds C and NC, plus 2 year old G –  to the joy baking, using the newest version of the Easy Bake. Given the girls’ ages, lots of hands-on supervision was required by the moms, but as you might imagine, we really didn’t mind. We were taken right back to our own childhood, as we would sit in our shared bedroom on a Saturday afternoon, mixing and stirring and baking together.

As you can see, our kids were just as taken with the Easy Bake Oven as their mothers were back in the day.

 

Big brother/cousin E was very sweet helping two 5 year old girls find what they were looking for at Target.

 

Easy Bake Oven

I’m pretty sure G enjoyed her first Easy Bake Experience,

 

 

Easy Bake Oven

C and NC took the frosting task veeeery seriously.

 Did you have an Easy Bake Oven growing up? Which model and color? I’d love to hear your own Easy Bake stories.

Below, I’ve assembled a 50 year pictorial history of this iconic toy. Maybe you”ll recognize your own childhood Easy Bake Oven among the photos!

(Just click on the arrows in the gallery below to scroll through all the Easy Bake Oven pix.)

nggallery template=’carousel’ id=’35′

  • Introduced in 1963 1 of 13
    Introduced in 1963
    The original Easy Bake Oven was introduced in 1963 and was an instant hit.
  • This was what my sister’s looked like! 2 of 13
    This was what my sister's looked like!
    My sister Betsy got her Easy Bake for Christmas in 1978, and I am pretty sure this was the model. Oh how I coveted her Easy Bake!
  • Accessories! 3 of 13
    Accessories!
    Future cake bosses can accessorize their modern Easy Bake Ovens with all kinds of fun extras.
  • G looooves the Easy Bake! 4 of 13
    G looooves the Easy Bake!
    Obviously, Aunt Betsy and I were right at hand to "help" G mix the cake batter, and to put the little cakes in to bake, but she seemed to think she did it all herself. She was ecstatic with this new toy.
  • Ronald Howes, Sr – Inventor of the Easy Bake Oven 5 of 13
    Ronald Howes, Sr - Inventor of the Easy Bake Oven
    Mr. Howes was a prolific inventor who created many defense-related gadgets and machines. But he is best remembered for his genius idea in 1963 - the Easy Bake Oven.
  • Early 80s? 6 of 13
    Early 80s?
    I'm guessing early 80s on this version of the Easy Bake. How about you?
  • The Cousins add frosting 7 of 13
    The Cousins add frosting
    My sister and I had so much fun introducing our youngest girls to a fave toy from our own childhoods.
  • My very favorite 8 of 13
    My very favorite
    This 60s model Easy Bake has incredible style. I love this one. I wish my real oven looked like this.
  • More Easy holiday bakin’ 9 of 13
    More Easy holiday bakin'
  • Late 70s? 10 of 13
    Late 70s?
    This one looks a little like a very early Mac computer, no?
  • Yum! 11 of 13
    Yum!
    The best part of Easy Baking is Easy Eating.
  • Betty Crocker for Easy Bake 12 of 13
    Betty Crocker for Easy Bake
    Clever cross branding strategy.
  • My second favorite model 13 of 13
    My second favorite model
    I do love that cobalt blue version of the Easy Bake best, but this funky green one is a close second.

 

Want this toy? You’re in luck! Every single day leading up to the holidays a blogger will be giving away a toy! Simply comment below for your chance to win a HexBugs Warriors Battle Zone Playset.

Do you know a deserving family, school, or charity this holiday season? We’re giving away one grand set of 20 toys from Target, including those mentioned in this post! To nominate, simply comment and tell us why you’ve selected them! 

A big thanks to Target for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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READ MORE FROM KATIE OVER AT MAMAPUNDIT (HER PERSONAL BLOG)

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