How Swanson’s TV Dinners Made It to the Digital Age

Thank American Airlines, 260 tons of turkey and dudes who still can’t cook

C.A. Swanson & Company had a big problem. It was just after Thanksgiving 1953, and the frozen-food brand had wildly overestimated the demand for turkey. Now, 260 tons of frozen birds were sitting in refrigerated train cars. Since the compressors only worked when the cars were moving, Swanson ordered its train to travel back and forth between Nebraska and the East Coast until panicked executives could figure out what to do.