Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Wonderful Popcorn Machine...!

Many of us have fond memories of going to the theatre and treating ourselves to a giant box of popcorn. Ah, nothing like the smell of popcorn when it's fresh and hot.

Ever wonder about who invented those poppers that made it that way? You are in luck, 'cause I'm gonna fill you in!

Charles Cretors originated from Lebanon, Ohio. He traveled the Midwest and settled in Fort Scott, Kansas for a few years, and then Decatur, Illinois. He spent his time working in the painting and contracting business, opened a bakery, and eventually a confectionery shop. As each venture led to the next, Cretors discovered he had a passion for how things worked. As an addition to the confectionery shop, Cretors purchased a peanut roaster to broaden his offerings to include fresh roasted peanuts. Not satisfied with how the machine worked, he redesigned it to work better. It was at this time that Cretors moved his wife and family to Chicago where he felt he could become a commercial success by selling his new machine. It was 18850.

Cretors wanted to test his new roaster under everyday conditions, and he also needed money. So, he purchased a vendor's license and put his machine on the sidewalk in front of his shop to test it and sell product at the same time. The date on the vendor's license is December 2, 1885, which marks the inception of C. Cretors & Company. The new roaster was driven by a small steam engine, which automated the roasting process, which was a new concept. A chance meeting happened between Cretors and a traveling salesman who purchased a bag of roasted peanuts. The salesman, J.M Savage, was very intrigued with the new peanut roaster, and offered to sell it in his territory. Cretors agreed to the proposal, and hired his first salesman.

By 1893, Cretors had created a steam powered machine that could roast 12 pounds of peanuts, 20 pounds of coffee, pop corn, and bake chestnuts as well. Popcorn was becoming the next popular choice for snackfood. Cretors redesigned his automated roasting machine so it would roast peanuts and pop popcorn at the same time. Cretors' machine design offered several advantages over the hand-operated process. First as a machine, it made operation more predictable and it provided an attraction for both the retailer and the customer. There was the novelty of the steam engine, and the Tosty Rosty Man, a small mechanical clown that acted as a merchandiser for the machine. Cretors' machine became the first automated machine that could pop popcorn uniformly in its own seasonings. As a result, the product came out the same way every time. Cretors applied for a patent on his new automated peanut roaster and popcorn popper machine on August 10, 1891. U.S. Patent 506,207 was granted to Cretors on October 10, 1893.US patent 506207 

Charles Cretors took his new popcorn wagon and peanut roaster to the Midway of Chicago's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and introduced the new corn product to the public in a newly designed machine that included a popcorn wagon. After a trial period where Cretors gave away samples of his new popcorn product, people began to line up to purchase bags of the hot, buttered popcorn.

I can almost taste the hot, fresh popcorn as I post this. One of those smells that makes your mouth water, ya know?

Coffee out on the patio this morning!


Rob said...

That was a fine story!

Chickenmom said...

Who would ever think that steam power + corn could make such a delicious snack? !
That was a good one, Mr. Hermit!

linda m said...

I wish those popcorn wagons would return to more places. Our Zoo has one and I can never just walk by when they are popping the popcorn. Thanks for the history lesson on the origin of this wonderful machine.

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

Smell of popcorn - one of few that will make you want to eat even when you're full. Since his machine did both popcorn and peanuts (my personal favorite - can't go to a baseball game without having some!), wonder if this was the inspiration for Cracker Jack? Maybe another story for you, Bubba? This was a good one!
Big hugs ~

JO said...

Interesting story. Now I hear it cost a small fortune to buy popcorn at the movies. We have lots of popcorn vendors here for some reason and people are always lined up to buy some.

HermitJim said...

Hey Rob...
Glad you liked it!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Phyllis...
The steam power caught me by surprise as wqell!
Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Linda...
Sure makes it hard to pass one when it's popping fresh corn.
Thanks for stopping by!

Hey Sis...
I used to love fresh roasted peanuts! I still like the smell along with the popcorn!
Thanks, Sis, for the visit today!

Hey Jo...
I wouldn't go to the theatre for any reason anymore. Too much meanness going on, ya know? I think it's cool that you have so many venders around, though.
Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!