Toys from the Time When Kids Really Did Play with Fire

oven

This is an Easy Bake Oven from 1915. Or something like it. It comes from before the Nerf Age of today. The primary difference is that this toy stove wasn't heated with a lightbulb. No, you had to start a fire in it:

The first miniature stoves appeared in the 1840s, made of heavy cast iron and modeled after full-sized cook stoves used in American kitchens. Later toy ovens imitated the range stoves that became popular in the 1880s. These fully functioning toy stoves had compartments to contain red-hot coals or wood, and later ones had operating electric or gas burners. These features gave the toys many of the same capabilities, as well as the safety hazards, of full-sized stoves. Production of cast-iron stoves continued up until the 1940s, when manufacturers instead dedicated their time and materials to the war effort. After World War II, a new generation of toy stoves emerged, made of plastic and tin. In 1963 the Easy-Bake Oven appeared on the market, replacing, once and for all, the dangerous, open burners of earlier stoves with a parent-friendly 100-watt light bulb in a contained cooking chamber.

Link | Photo: Strong National Museum of Play

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