Easy-Bake Oven Escapes Extinction

Welcome to another edition of Tech Tuesday, though in this instance we're not dealing with high tech so much as retro tech.

How many of you out there remember the Easy-Bake Oven? It's been around for decades – since 1963 (I remember when one of my sisters got one. It was the coolest thing because you could make cakes and brownies with it!) It was a simple piece of technology – a plastic outer case that looked like a miniature version of a kitchen stove, an inner case made out of some kind of sheet metal, a 100 watt incandescent light bulb, and an electrical cord. That's all there was to it.

It came with small packages of Betty Crocker cake and brownie mix, no different from the larger boxes our mothers bought to make their cakes and brownies. It helped that you could use mix from the larger boxes to make the small baked goods. (No, I am not being sexist. You have to remember that many of us grew up in the 50's and 60's before gender roles were redefined. But as a side note, the WP Mom was never a traditional homemaker. My folks were well ahead of their time as the 'traditional' roles didn't really apply in our family.)

So what makes me bring up this bit of retro tech?

It's being redesigned.

Because the gubmint, in its self-delusional wisdom, decided to ban incandescent light bulbs starting with the 100 watt bulbs, the Easy-Bake Oven could have gone the way of the eight track tape.

Hasbro has redesigned it to do away with the need for the soon-to-be-defunct 100 watt bulb, replacing it with a more traditional heating element. The Easy-Bake Oven also gets a new, 'swoopier' look in it's eleventh revision of the classic toy. Unfortunately the redesign also includes a much higher price: $49.99 versus the last model's $29.99, a 66% increase.

I'll bet the geniuses in Washington never realized the negative effect their light bulb ban was going to have on the next generation of bakers. Call it yet another example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.