Special Collections

Circa 1930s Charles Cretors & Company Steam Popcorn Popper

Still in business today, the Cretors Company of Chicago continues to produce high-quality poppers that make that tasty popped corn treat enjoyed by millions. One of the oldest manufacturers of popcorn popping machinery, Charles Cretors & Company introduced in 1885 the first patented steam driven popcorn machine that popped corn in oil.

Cretors introduced the world’s first mobile popcorn machine at the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. At that time, Scientific American reported: “This machine… was designed with the idea of moving it about to any location where the operator would be likely to do a good business. The apparatus, which is light and strong, and weighing but 400 or 500 pounds, can be drawn readily by a boy or by a small pony to any picnic ground, fair, political rally, etc. and to many other places where a good business could be done for a day or two.”

By 1913, Cretors was selling a wheeled, freestanding, steam-powered combination peanut & corn popper for $240. Manufactured in 1936, our popper still makes fabulous steam-popped corn. Fully restored in 2015 and now fueled by propane, the popper still uses steam to pop the corn, and no one can resist the aroma of our freshly popped corn!