Happy Birthday (1953) to Swanson’s TV Dinner!
With the oncoming explosion of TV sets in America, Swanson & Sons got ahead of the game in 1953. They produced a frozen TV dinner that could easily be heated up and served while families watched that newfangled television set in the living room.
The first TV dinners were even packaged in a wood framed television image to make sure the purpose of the meal was not lost on consumers. They were a huge hit and are now, of course, a staple of the busy family's dinner tradition.
The original TV dinner sold for 98-cents and was actually called TV Brand Frozen Dinner. The first (of many) TV dinners consisted of a "Thanksgiving meal:" turkey with cornbread dressing, frozen peas and sweet potatoes. Each item was placed in its own individual tray compartment. It was to be cooked at 425-degrees for 25 minutes in the oven. The first year it sold over 5,000 dinners. Today millions are sold each year.
The first dessert in a TV dinner came along in 1960, adding a new (fourth) compartment which held apple cobbler or brownies.