The Origin of Popcorn — Who Popped First?

Everyone loves popcorn! In fact, people have been enjoying this tasty snack for far longer than you might realize. From old-fashioned methods to packaged popcorn and air-popped popcorn, the way we enjoy this snack has evolved quite a bit over the years. If you’re interested in the history of popcorn, let’s take a look at where it all began and how it’s changed into what we know today!

The Past of Popcorn

Before we talk about who invented popcorn, we need to start with the main ingredient — corn kernels. Maize was first domesticated around 10,000 years ago in ancient Mexico. Eventually, they learned how to create popcorn, and the first form of this beloved snack was born. How do we know they ate popcorn? You can thank archaeologists!

During an excavation that took place in a bat cave in West Central New Mexico, an ear of popcorn was found that’s estimated to be around 5,600 years old! This means that people have been making popcorn for well over five thousand years and potentially even longer. Popcorn has also been found across South America in burial sites, meaning that popped corn was not only enjoyed by many people but also important to their culture. Just as we make popcorn balls as holiday decorations today, so too did the early Americans for their celebrations!

Popcorn’s Popularity Grows

Even as the world changed drastically over the years, people continued to eat popcorn. The word popcorn first showed up in the 1838 Dictionary of Americanisms, and many enjoyed this popular snack around the country. However, after being added to United States seed trade catalogs in the 1880s, its popularity grew substantially. Of course, this is far from the only reason why popcorn consumption increased.

Popcorn grew in popularity with the help of new technology. The first large-scale popcorn machine was invented in the late eighteen hundreds by a candy store owner named Charles Cretors, which popped corn with the help of steam technology. With these advancements, the popcorn industry was well on its way!

The Accessibility of Popcorn Grows

Americans ate popcorn during the Great Depression too, and for good reason. Because this tasty treat was relatively inexpensive, many were still able to afford it during these tough times. In fact, the popcorn business thrived during the Great Depression because they started selling them at movie theaters. Although theater owners were initially opposed to selling popcorn because they were considered messy, it quickly caught on. Now, this delicious snack is synonymous with the movies.

Of course, as home televisions became more commonplace, movie theater popcorn sales naturally declined. However, because Americans never lost their love for this beloved snack, they continued to enjoy it. The introduction of microwave popcorn bags in the early 1980s made popping corn more convenient than ever! However, there’s nothing quite like popping corn the old-fashioned way for movie nights!

Call Best Darn Kettlecorn Today!

In the long time since the early American cultures started popping corn, the iconic snack has changed quite a bit. At Best Darn Kettlecorn, we continue the tradition of popping corn by providing families with a variety of tasty popcorn tins! We also offer kettle corn in many different unique flavors, so that everyone can find a treat that matches their unique taste. To learn more about kettle corn and order some for your family, get in touch today!