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A Word from the Author:
“A light bulb creates an environment by its mere presence.” – Marshall McLuhan
How has a plastic toy oven powered by a standard incandescent light bulb become a cultural icon? Pop-culture pundits often say that trends fade quickly and ultimately make a comeback every 20 years or so. The Easy-Bake® Oven belies this notion. Its staying power has spanned 50 years, with more than 30 million ovens sold.
Nearly anyone born since 1955 has some memory of baking with an Easy-Bake. The oven allowed children to experience the delight of serving up miniature culinary concoctions while indulging in eating raw batter. For generations, the Easy-Bake Oven has taken -- and continues to take -- "playing house" to a level of realism that is nearly impossible for a child to hope for. The ability to bake and serve real food from a working oven -- without the supervision of a parent or the fear of fire -- is one of the most wonderful gifts a toy company (in this case, Kenner) has given to youth.
As I started to pay homage to those memories, this book rather unexpectedly became something more. It became an exploration of innovation, history, economics, commerce, advertising, and marketing. The story of the Easy-Bake Oven is a microcosm of post-war America. It demonstrates how the energies of technical innovation shifted after the war effort toward consumers. It traces the birth and evolution of a new popular culture that celebrated American invention and playfulness while reinforcing family-oriented values and traditional gender roles.
About the Author:
Todd Coopee is a writer, award-winning business owner, toy historian, and pop-culture enthusiast. His affinity for nostalgia, vintage toys, and baking fed his passion for the Easy-Bake Oven, which led to his 2013 retrospective, Light Bulb Baking: A History of the Easy-Bake® Oven. Todd lives in Ottawa, Ontario and has been known to bake tiny treats for his friends and family.
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Learn more about Todd: http://about.me/todd.coopee
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