While the first aluminum tv dinner tray was added to the Smithsonian Museum in 1986, the origins of this meal are hotly contested. Maxon Food Systems manufactured the first frozen meal in 1945 for military and civilian air travel.
The concept was further developed by Jack Fisher, who sold FridgiDinners to restaurants and taverns in the late 1940s. But the winner, winner chicken dinner goes to Swanson and Sons, whose Thanksgiving meal was first sold in 1953 for 98 cents.
Packaged in aluminum, this dinner could be baked in the oven in under 30 minutes. That’s pretty good for a meal that normally takes all day to make. And judging by the more than 10 million sold in the very first year, Americans were truly grateful.
On National TV Dinner Day, celebrate this modern convenience that still holds a place at the dinner table.
Today we also celebrate: National Swap Ideas Day