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!