Pretzel-Jetzel from Transogram (1965)

Company: Transogram | Release date: 1965 | Ages: 8 and up | Where to purchase: eBay

“THE JET AGE PRETZEL MAKING TOY…that bakes with light”

Released in 1965 by Transogram, the Pretzel-Jetzel toy promised children they could bake their own “zenzational” pretzels using the heat of a light bulb.

The box included a yellow and orange plastic housing fashioned to look like a masonry oven and bakery, a packet of powdered pretzel mix, 2 red measuring spoons, paper mixing cups, a squeeze bottle, a Pretel-Jetzel sign for the bakery, a wooden dowel for cooling, metal baking trays, a baking belt, instruction booklet, and a small card that indicated the need for a 100-watt light bulb (not included). The housing enclosed the cooking belt, metal cooking trays, and light bulb.

Children used hot water and butter from their own kitchens to mix with the powered pretzel mix. They then poured the dough into the squeeze bottle which was used to dispence a thin layer of the mixture onto metal baking trays affixed to the belt. The baking trays were debossed to produce a template that allowed for the baking of 2 pretzel sticks and 1 bow-shaped pretzel.

Once a metal baking tray was filled with dough, the pretzels were salted (also an ingredient from home) and a small hand crank located at the side of the toy was used to roll the belt forward to position the metal tray underneath the light bulb. The instructions suggested a 7-minute baking time. Once cooked, the pretzels were rolled out from under the light bulb, slid off the tray, and cooled on the dowel (pretzel bows) or lay on the plastic base (pretzel sticks).

The instruction booklet included in the box was illustrated to resemble a comic strip. The colourful booklet guided kids (and their parents) through the assembly of the toy, provided baking instructions, and shared safety tips. An order form printed at the back of the booklet could be mailed away for refills for the price of $1.00 USD for a package of 6 mixes.

Similar to another light bulb baking toy — the Easy-Bake Oven from Kenner (1963) — Pretzel-Jetzel could pose a burn risk. Children excited to retrieve their finished pretzels might be surprised by the heat a small light bulb produced against the metal baking trays.

View a Pretzel-Jetzel vintage print advertisement.

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