Popcorn is over 5000 years. The popcorn variety of maize was domesticated by Pre-Columbian indigenous peoples. The first commercial popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors in 1885. Nebraska produces the most popcorn in America, around 250 million pounds per year.
How did popcorn get its name?
By 1848, the word “popcorn” was included in John Russell Bartlett’s Dictionary of Americanisms. Bartlett claimed that the name was derived from “the noise it makes on bursting open.” One of the earliest recipes for popping corn came from Daniel Browne during the 1840s.
In 1938 Glen W. Dickson, the owner of several theaters throughout the Midwest, began installing popcorn machines in the lobbies of his theaters. Before that moviegoers bought popcorn outside movie theatres. Theatre owners saw the sale of popcorn as a nuisance and were not convinced it belonged to the movie experience. Can you imagine walking into a movie theater today without the scent of popcorn welcoming you inside?
Fun Fact: Legend has it that the name “Cracker Jack” came from a customer who, upon trying the treat, exclaimed, “that really a cracker — Jack!” The name stuck. However, “crackerjack” was also a slang expression that meant “something pleasing or excellent.” This is more likely to have been the origin of the name. The Cracker Jack name was registered in 1896.