Thanksgiving Invented The TV Dinners Industry

Samuel Reason

The birth of the massive TV dinner industry, such as microwaveable meals, started as a big mistake. During the 1940s, the most prominent brands creating frozen food was Swanson and Birds Eye. However, at this time it was mostly frozen vegetables or meat, meaning you still had to put the meal together. The concept of a fully prepared meal that you could just heat, known as the TV dinner, didn’t happen until 1953. And it was due to a colossal error on Swanson’s part.

In 1953, the person in charge ordered the turkeys to be frozen overestimated by 300 tons. The company now had 300 tons of frozen birds sitting in refrigerator railroad cars. Thanksgiving was over so there would not be a chance to sell them. So what to do? Gerry Thomas a Swanson salesman, came along with a vision. A vision of easy meals for families across the whole of the USA. Inspired by the trays of pre-prepared food that he saw on Airlines, he pitched the idea of a TV dinner tray.

And the rest as they say is history. Ordering 5,000 aluminum trays and arming himself with an assembly line of workers with spatulas and scoops. Thomas was able to put together the first TV dinner tray which had turkey, gravy, peas, and sweet potatoes. Along with a cornbread dressing and some butter. Swanson launched a marketing campaign and along with the price being 98 cents, the TV dinner soon shot off as a successful product.

Swanson quickly took advantage of the shift to watching TV nearly all the time. Families became used to hearing their ads, and children became obsessed with the concept of TV dinners. Many believe TV dinners were actually one of the best parts of early television’s success. Of course, these stackable trays that saved time and energy made a lot of sense to most Americans at the time. Sure there was some shaming over not making a home-cooked meal. But overtime perceptions and perspectives changed, nowadays, we find supermarkets selling nearly every type of food that can be ready to eat in a matter of minutes.

Next Article
  • The Legend Of The Sleeping Barbarossa Emperor

    Emperor Frederick I. also known as Barbarossa was an Emperor of modern-day Germany. He became a symbol of stability and national unity, even years after his death. Because the country fell into war and civil war, the people longed for the peace that had existed with Barbarossa’s rule. The legend started because his body was...

    Read More
  • The Infamous Shark Arm Case in Australia

    In 1935, the infamous case of the shark arm started when a tiger shark in captivity vomited up a human arm. The tiger shark was in the Coogee Aquarium Baths on public display. After just a week it became very ill and vomited in front of a crowd. What came out was the forearm of...

    Read More
  • In Russia Cows Are Wearing VR Headsets To Produce More Milk

    You may have seen the photos flying around social media of cows wearing VR headsets. And no they’re not actually fake. These Russian farmers have been putting VR headsets on their cows. Apparently, it can lead to a much higher yield of milk and more money for the farmers. Of course, commenters quickly asserted that...

    Read More
  • The Crypt Of Civilization

    An airtight chamber that was built sometime between 1937 and 1940 is found in Georgia, by the Oglethorpe University. It’s called the Crypt of Civilization and is not planned to be opened until AD 8113. The container is filled with many artifacts and sound recordings from early 20th-century life. The idea was to build something...

    Read More
  • Crooked Teeth Are A Modern Phenomenon

    When you think about cavemen you probably think about clubs, caves, and running away from dinosaurs. So having time for dental hygiene would not have been a top priority. However, research shows that ancient humans had much better teeth than today. Crooked and ill-aligned teeth are a completely modern phenomenon. ...

    Read More
  • Swedish Man Who Tried To Build A Nuclear Reactor In His Home

    One Swedish man tried for months to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen, and he would probably have never stopped. Richard Handl was curious if he could split an atom at home. Police finally shut down his home research center after he made a call to the radiation authorities to ask if what he...

    Read More
  • The Infamous Stock Market Hackers Of 1834

    A little-known tale of one of the first times cyber crime happened on the stock market is the tale of the Blanc brothers. What’s even more amazing is it happened in 1834 when there was no internet or computers. But since 1794, France had its national telecommunication lines and network called the semaphore telegraph. It...

    Read More
  • Elderly Tenant Received Over $17 Million To Move Out

    A reclusive man who had lived alone for over 30 years was paid an estimated $17 million to move out of a rent-controlled apartment in New York. By far the most expensive payment ever made to relocate a tenant. Apparently, the man’s apartment was extremely damp, very cluttered, and cramp, but still, he refused to...

    Read More