Holly Hobbie Oven

Holly Hobbie Oven

It arrived on the toy aisle almost a decade after its Easy-Bake competitor, but its appearance gave the impression that it was century older. Fashioned after an antique stove, the Holly Hobbie Oven gave youngsters the ability to bake cookies and cakes just like mom … or more appropriately, just like grandma.

Perhaps you are familiar with an illustrated little girl named Holly Hobbie, whose face has adorned countless greeting cards for over fifty years. What you may not know is that the character was created by an author and artist whose real name was Holly Hobbie, well known for the popular “Toot and Puddle” series of children’s books.

Hobbie was also a contracted artist for American Greetings in the early 70s, for whom she created artwork of a little girl in a worn dress that loves cats. She named the character after herself and it wasn’t long before American Greetings contracted Knickerbocker toys to produce a doll based on the character’s likeness. For a time, these dolls were very popular and it made sense to create some more toys.

They licensed the image to Coleco, who created the Holly Hobbie Oven in 1975. It operated much in the same way as the Kenner Easy-Bake Oven, but had an old-fashioned cast iron appearance. The toy came with a number of cool accessories, including real wood spoons and a rolling pin, plus an assortment of bowls and pans to create your lightbulb-baked masterpieces.

Although the Holly Hobbie Oven (along with many, many other Holly-based toys and accessories) made its way onto numerous Christmas wishlists in the 70s and early 80s, it was still competing with the Kenner Oven which had a twelve-year head start and a more modern appearance. Sadly, the old-fashioned appliance lost the toy oven wars and was discontinued.

Holly Hobbie, the character, is still alive and well, with Mattel producing a new version of the doll as recently as 2006, to coincide with the release of a television movie called Holly Hobbie and Friends: Surprise Party. The oven, on the other hand, lives only in the memories of millions of former little girls who sharpened their baking skills on this quaint toy from yesteryear.

Were you the proud owner of a Holly Hobbie oven back in the day? We’d love to hear your memories of this toy in our comments section below, as we tip our hats to a toy that proved that not everyone prefers those newfangled modern appliances.

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