The day after Thanksgiving presents a perennial problem — what to do with the leftover turkey? The individual homeowner’s problem is nothing like that facing the Swanson Company in 1953. Overestimating the need for Thanksgiving turkeys, the firm found itself with over a half-million pounds of unsold turkey. Enter a salesman named Gerry Thomas. He modified a tray used by airlines into one with three compartments, filled it with a turkey dinner, and suggested tying the idea to the nation’s latest craze — television. And so the TV dinner was born.
Via The U.S. Census Bureau