Click HERE to learn more about the models we have in operation.

Before movie theaters, before microwave ovens, popcorn had to be popped in wire baskets with long handles that were placed over a fire and shaken by hand to keep the delicate kernals from burning. The resulting popped corn was usually dry and many times burned.

In 1893, Charles Cretors introduced America, and the world, to his new method of popping popcorn at the Chicago Columbia Exposition. Cretors had developed a method to allow popcorn to be popped in a mixture of butter, lard and salt. Not only could his mixture withstand the 450-degree temperature required to pop the corn, it also gave the corn a delicious flavor!

Charles Cretor's first machines were peanut roasters, with popcorn poppers added as a secondary source of retail. However, the delicious taste produced by his machines soon brought popcorn to out sell the peanuts being roasted, so Cretors changed their thinking and began to produce popcorn machines with peanut roasters attached.

C. Cretor's and Company (www.cretors.com) built several different models of popcorn machines, used by enterprising men and women all over the country. As demand for his machines grew, so did the varieties of machines that were offered. Initial machines were small, designed to be easily maneuvered and moved to the where the business was. (See 1906 Number No. 1 wagon with wooden popper case). Soon, the desire for an enclosed wagon was made evident and C. Cretor's and Company began building beautiful, horse-drawn wagons. These wagons increased the volume of the corn popped as well as the amount of peanuts that could be roasted. They offered protection from the elements and provided a mobile 'store' to operate from.

At the turn of the century and in the early 1900's when these machines were being built, electricity was still not readily available in all parts of the country. Cretors knew they had to provide a good, safe and reliable source of power to run the peanut roasters and the popper units. The power that drove the roasters and the poppers was steam. Each wagon was equipped with a white gas fired boiler that drove a finely tuned steam engine that drove a series of gears that turned the popping corn and the peanut roaster. Several models also offered gas lighting which were also run from the white gas. The live steam was fed through the engine to drive the gear system and then the still hot steam/condensed water was fed under the popcorn tray to keep the popcorn warm. (The first electric machine was built and sold in 1907). The engineering of these wagons was truly incredible.

Cretors built several styles and models of Popcorn machines. Sidewalk wagons, horse-drawn wagons and units designed for shopkeepers and storefronts. The best remembered and most widely recognizable units were the wagons themselves. The smallest popcorn wagon was the Model C; the largest popcorn wagon was a Model D. The fanciest model produced was a Model A. Each wagon had the option of being built with several unique specifications, designed specifically for the buyer. For instance, the company offered a drivers seat instead of having to drive from within the wagon, a hot lunch 'outfit' was available, along with a hot plate option to provide customers with a hot lunch.

As the motor vehicle age came about, C. Cretor's and Company ventured into motorized wagons, building several machines known as "Buddah" wagons. Cretor's also built wagon's onto the frame of Model TT trucks and later onto the frame of Model AA Trucks. (According to C. Cretor's and Company, the first automobile model was sold to Mrs. L.P. Dupoyster of Cairo, Illinois, for $1,850.00). These motorized units were very costly and prohibitive for the times, according to records only limited units were built and sold.

As movie theaters began offering popcorn to supplement their income from movies, C. Cretor's and Company began producing many of the units seen in the lobby, popping corn as the lines draw in length to get a tasty treat before the movie begins. C. Cretors and Company are still in business today, the company is still owned by the Cretor's family and they are still the leaders and innovators in the popcorn industry.

Popcorn Wagon's & Machines We Own and Operate
The Popper
The Steam Engine
The Restoration Process

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