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It's lights out for the traditional Easy-Bake Oven

A federal ban on the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs, the Easy-Bake Oven's longtime source of heat, kicks in next year. Hasbro plans to switch to a different heating element.

February 23, 2011|By Gregory Karp

Reporting from Chicago — Politicians, it seems, have killed the traditional Easy-Bake Oven.

Collateral damage in the war on energy waste is none other than the classic children's toy Easy-Bake Oven, introduced in 1963 and an inductee in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Millions of young chefs have used the toy to bake tasty treats. It was made possible by the oven's heating element, a common 100-watt incandescent light bulb.

But starting next year, manufacture of such bulbs will be outlawed. It's the start of a 2007 federal law being phased in that requires light bulbs to be more energy efficient. The practical effect will be a ban on incandescent bulbs, which do not meet the requirement.

The 100-watt bulb was so energy-inefficient, its main product wasn't light. It was heat — enough to bake cookies and cakes in Easy-Bake Ovens.

But, youthful foodies, take heart.

Hasbro Inc., which inherited the Easy-Bake Oven when it acquired original manufacturer Kenner Products Co. in 1991, said it has a plan. It released this official statement:

"We are aware that the 100-watt incandescent light bulb will no longer be available beginning in 2012. In fall 2011, Hasbro will launch the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, introducing a new way to bake for the next generation of chefs. This new oven features a heating element that does not use a light bulb and offers an extensive assortment of mixes reflective of the hottest baking trends for today."

So, a bulb-less version of the Easy-Bake Oven will live on.

gkarp@tribune.com

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