EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 291 - July 24, 2011 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 6

Collector's Corner: Iconic Toys - the Easy-Bake Oven

By Michele Alice

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Since its introduction by Kenner Products in 1963, an estimated 40 million Easy-Bake Ovens have been sold - and not just to little girls. Shawn Spencer ("Psych") may be a fictional character who used his $300 (from eBay) Easy-Bake Oven to make an inedible pineapple upside-down cake, but real TV chef Bobby Flay is just one of many men who credit the toy with fostering their love of cooking.

The first Easy-Bake Oven was a turquoise affair complete with fake stove-top burners. A 100-watt incandescent bulb provided the heat - up to 375 degrees! - necessary to bake the special mixes included in the kit, or just about anything else a child could whip up using home ingredients.

Over the years there have been multiple permutations to the original oven. These have included changes in color - such as to avocado green in 1969 and harvest gold in 1970 - and design, like 1978's Mini-Wave that was made to resemble a microwave.

In 2006, Easy-Bake was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, and the design was changed again to allow for front loading of the pans instead of the traditional side pass-through. The change proved disastrous as there were multiple reports of children burning their fingers, and all one million units that had been manufactured were eventually recalled.

The latest redesign is scheduled to reach stores' shelves later this year. Hasbro, which acquired Kenner in 1991, has announced that, in response to Congress' scheduled banning of incandescent bulbs, the new version of the oven will substitute a different kind of "heating element." If you would prefer to keep the traditional version in working order, now is the time to stock up on bulbs!

So what is the price of nostalgia to collectors? Shawn Spencer probably overpaid: most vintage Easy-Bakes sell for little above their original prices of about $15 to $25, unless they are extra special. Like the 1988 NIB (New in Box) version that recently fetched $74.99 at an online auction.

Have an incomplete version? There are hundreds of various parts and manuals available online. Or you could go the yard sale route where, for a song, you may find a beat-up set you can cannibalize - or you might find a treasure.

Interested in learning more about this collectible? Check out the resources listed below, and

Happy Hunting!

Books

Classic Toys of the National Toy Hall of Fame: Celebrating the Greatest Toys of All Time!

Collector's Guide to Housekeeping Toys 1870-1970

The Easy-Bake Oven Gourmet

Websites

Death of Old-Style Lighbulb Forces Easy-Bake Oven Makeover - Link to article - GreenBiz article by Leslie Guevarra highlights potential problem for collectors: now is the time to stockpile 100-watt incandescent bulbs!

Easy-Bake - Link to website - Official Hasbro site offers history, recipes, and decorating tips.

EasyBakeOven - Link to website - "Unofficial" resource has everything from History and The Science to PDF files of manuals and cookbooks. MadTV commercial spoof is hilarious!

One million Hasbro Easy-Bake Ovens recalled - Link to article - Piece by Amy Sahba (CNN) on the 2007 recall.


About the author:

Michele Alice is EcommerceBytes Update Contributing Editor. Michele is a freelance writer in the Berkshire mountains of Massachusetts. She collects books, science fiction memorabilia and more! Email her at makalice @ adelphia.net eBay ID: Malice9


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