RIP – RONALD HOWES


EXPIRED: 02/16/10 – Ronald Howes, 83, was an inventor. And a hero to many bored little girls.
He built high-tech defense weaponry devices and electrostatic printers, whatever the hell those are. But the thing that Howes will be remembered for most, especially by women of all ages, is that he is the genius who invented the incredibly simple, and enormously popular, Easy-Bake Oven.

Howes, who was raised by a grandmother after his mother died during childbirth, was always a smart kid. He taught himself to read before kindergarten, even. When World War II came about he was just a teenage, so he lied about his age to enlist in the Navy. When he got out, he went back to high school, and went to college at the same time!

Eventually he got a job at Kenner, where he met his wife, a secretary in the toy department. There he developed a nontoxic Play-Doh, as well as one of my favorite drawing toys, the Spirograph.

But it was the Easy-Bake Oven that made him a star among millions of little girls over half a century. The idea for it grew came from the way New York City street vendors peddling roasted chestnuts. Howes set out to make a toy version of a roast chestnut cart, and the Easy-Bake Oven was born, heated by a light bulb to make it child safe. The toy has been getting kids hooked on cooking for nearly 50 years.

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