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How Easy-Bake Ovens Work

Redesign, Recall, Redesign

Impending government regulation changed the Easy-Bake oven's fortunes. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 meant that by 2012, light bulbs had to increase their efficiency by at least 25 percent in relation to the light they emitted. For 100-watt light bulbs, this legislation was the beginning of the end.

That meant Hasbro had to find a new way to heat their hot-selling product. The 2006 redesign of the Easy-Bake oven used a ceramic heating element that was similar to regular ovens.

Notably, the new version traded the time-tested push-through tray for a new front-loading slot. The new contraption's opening was just big enough for the cooking tray – and also just big enough for tiny hands.

What initially seemed like a snappy redesign resulted in a trap that snagged small hands near the heating element, causing second- and third-degree burns. After dozens of complaints, Hasbro recalled the toy and offered kits made to fix the units that had already found homes.

Those kits didn't solve the problem. More than 200 kids wound up with burns. One 5-year-old girl was so badly burned that doctors amputated part of her finger [source: Metzler].

Hasbro finally recalled all of that year's models. But rather than give up on its iconic product, the company overhauled the design again. After returning to a bulb-heating design for a while, Hasbro once again debuted a model with a heating element in 2011. This time, the heat source was safely tucked away from the poking and prodding of children's fingers.