History Of The Popcorn Machine  

Popcorn has a long and an ancient history. The earliest evidence of popped corn was found in Peru and it was dated back to the pre-Incan period, which was some time around 300 AD. A device was found which bore close resemblance to the modern popcorn machines. The device was a shallow vessel with a hole in the middle of the lid and a handle.  


During the 17th century, settlers of the New World used a special device to pop their corn. This device was made of a thin metal sheet, in the shape of a cylinder and it had a handle attached to it. The whole vessel was rotated on fire and the whole equipment resembled a squirrel cage. From the 19th century onwards, popcorn machines got more modern.

The credit for making the first ever popcorn machine goes to Charles Cretors. This occurred in the year 1885, in the city of Chicago. He wanted to operate the machine on a street as a vendor and so he was issued a peddler’s license to operate. The popcorn machine was huge and had a gasoline burner. It became a common sight in parks, expositions and fairs. Cretors was responsible for starting the tradition of using machines for making popcorn, and this tradition continues even today.

In 1914, Dan Tolbert invented a new industry sized popcorn machine and started producing this delicious and mouthwatering snack on a large scale. Fred Hoke and James Holcomb started manufacturing it and selling it in large quantities. The pair claims millions of dollars worth of sales from machines across the United States. The price of the machines ranged from $400 to $1,300. By 1934, they stopped production of machines because many of the customers were not making the payments and also America plunged into the Great Depression. The company actually never completed any orders for machine repairs since 1940.

In 1922, J.R. Burch started making popcorn machines and sold them through his company, the Burch Manufacturing Company. However, Burch wound up the company after a bad partnership and went to St. Louis. Here he started a new company and christened it Star Manufacturing Company. He started making low end machines that were priced low. After several kinds of research and development, finally the hot air popcorn machines were manufactured in 1978 by the same company, which was by then renamed to Advance Manufacturing Company. The traditional popcorn made using oil had 45 percent of calorie, while the hot air popped popcorn had only 5 percent calories.

The current-day popcorn machines mostly use hot air to pop the corn and also they have a mixer that combines butter and herbs. These are only seen in fairs and marketplaces.

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