Monday, May 10, 2010

When Was the Popcorn Maker Invented?

Popcorn... who doesn't love hot, buttery popcorn? Everybody knows that popcorn was introduced to the first Pilgrims by friendly natives. But the making of popcorn has evolved considerably since the 1600s. First commercial popcorn machines and then home popcorn makers were invented to make the tasty treat available to everybody.

    Early Popcorn Poppers

  1. Popcorn makers were in use as early as 300 A.D. In Peru, a lost pre-Incan culture invented a piece of crockery that was designed with a hole in the top and a handle for shaking it over the fire. By the 17th century, another type of machine was used. A thin metal cylinder with a handle was filled with kernels and turned by hand, close to an open fire.
  2. Cretors & Co.

  3. The first commercial popcorn machine was invented by Charles C. Cretors in 1885. Cretors owned a candy shop in Decatur, Illinois. Becoming successful by inventing a steam-powered peanut roaster, he moved to Chicago to expand his business. Before long he had modified his machine to pop corn. After adding wheels and a mechanical clown, The Toasty Roasty Man, his popcorn maker was complete.
  4. Other Commercial Popcorn Machines

  5. Just before World War I, manufacturers Holcomb & Hoke began to market commercial popcorn makers, claiming that with the purchase of one machine, investors could make their fortunes selling popcorn. This company, however, did not last long, due to the Great Depression. Between 1920 and 1940, several other companies sprang up, manufacturing and selling popcorn-making machines to supply the world with fresh popcorn.
  6. Home Popcorn Makers

  7. Home popcorn makers came on the market in the 1970s. These small appliances popped the corn with a continuous flow of hot air instead of the traditional hot oil that the commercial machines used. This was a great selling point as people grew more health conscious and less pleased with the fatty commercially sold popcorn. Microwave popcorn was introduced in the 1980s.
  8. Popcorn Today

  9. Every year, Americans eat over 17 billion quarts of popcorn. It is served everywhere from movie theaters to hotel lobbies, and more than half of all popcorn eaten in American is made in the microwave. Popcorn truly has become a standard of American culture.


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