Sept. 10: Swanson introduces the ‘TV dinner’ in 1953

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Vintage ad.

TV trays are so iconic that you can now buy them in ceramic ...

... or kitschy trompe l'oeil.

Who knew a piece of tinfoil would be so revolutionary?

With its aluminum tray molded into compartments, each containing a frozen dinner "course," the Swanson TV dinner helped change the way America approaches the kitchen.

Swanson wasn't the first to sell frozen dinners, or even the first to use the now-iconic tray. But in a stroke of advertising genius, it was the first to market them around the modern-day hearth: the television. "Now Mom's in on the TV fun at the start," an early ad says -- "no work, no dishes." Early women's lib!

Today is also National TV Dinner Day, presumably in honor of Swanson. Enjoy these early commercials to whet your appetite:

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