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Death of Old-Style Lightbulb Forces Easy-Bake Oven Makeover

<p>The pending ban of traditional lightbulbs, which spurred the lighting industry to introduce more energy efficiency products, has led to the redesign of a classic toy -- the Easy-Bake Oven.</p>

The phaseout of the traditional incandescent lightbulb to push energy efficiency in the U.S. has sent the lighting industry and retailers into overdrive to meet the requirements that take effect next January.

Now toymaker Hasbro is hastening to redesign a childhood classic. The Easy-Bake Oven, which uses a 100-watt bulb as its heat source, is getting a makeover.

“We are aware that the 100-watt incandescent lightbulb will no longer be available beginning in 2012,” Hasbro said in a statement. “In fall 2011, Hasbro will launch the Easy Bake Ultimate Oven, introducing a new way to bake for the next generation of chefs.”Hasbro product photo.

Hasbro has already retooled its website to feature “Easy-Bake Microwave & Style” sets, a kit that can be used to make baked goods with fondant-style decorations in a microwave oven.

Inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2006, the Easy-Bake Oven has frequently changed its look in the nearly half century since its debut in 1963, when the plaything was made by Kenner Products, now a division of Hasbro.

The original Easy-Bake looked like a pint-sized, four-burner range and oven. The most recent model is shown in Hasbro product photos above.A 2006 model.

Throughout the years, the oven’s operating principle hasn’t changed much. But starting in fall, the new model will feature “a heating element that does not use a lightbulb and offers an extensive assortment of mixes reflective of the hottest baking trends for today,” according to Hasbro’s statement.

As readers know, lighting companies have introduced a host of new products in preparation for the rolling phaseout of incandescent bulbs, effective January 1, 2012. Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, 100-watt incandescent bulbs will be the first to go. Seventy-five-watt traditional bulbs follow in 2013 and sale of 40- and 60-watt bulbs are to end in 2014.

Among retailers, IKEA began pulling incandescents from its shelves in August and with the new year declared that it no longer sells any incandescents, even though the first stage of the phaseout was a year away and applies only to 100-watt bulbs.

With the retirement of the 100-watt lightbulb, the traditional Easy-Bake is destined to become a collector’s item, and those who have them in good working order will have to stockpile bulbs to keep using the toy.

The stockpile strategy, though it runs afoul of the government's energy efficiency campaign, is being contemplated by a significant percentage of Americans if a recent survey by Osram Sylvania is any indication. About 13 percent of the people responding to the latest Socket Survey said they intend to: “buy a lot of 100-watt lightbulbs while they are still produced and continue using them.”

Top image and first inset photo from Hasbro. Inset photo of a 2006 model from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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