Big Burger Grill from Kenner (1967)

Company: Kenner | Release date: 1972 | Where to purchase: eBay

In 1967, Kenner released one of the most realistic entries into the “miniature household appliances that actually work” toy category. Following its instant hit, the Easy-Bake Oven, by four years, Kenner’s Big Burger Grill was an actual working grill – a hot plate, really – that, according to advertisements from the time, “allowed boys and girls to enjoy drive-in treats at home.”

The grill was powered by a single 150-watt light bulb that heated a removable metal surface sized to fit about two standard-sized hamburger patties. A “spatter-proof” transparent grill cover and removable grease trap rounded out the setup. A red light signaled when the grill was powered on.

The grill came equipped with 12 add-water mixes for pancakes (blueberry and buttermilk); hamburger and hot dog buns; maple syrup, ketchup, mustard, and onions. Additional food preparation utensils included a spatula, mixing bowl, bun mold, spool, salt shaker, and cookbook.

The Big Burger Grill remained on the market for four years. In 1968, Kenner upgraded it to include milk shakes, with a battery powered mixer in the set and three chocolate shake mixes in the box, and renamed it The Big Burger Grill and Shake Set.