Popcorn has been a favorite snack for people of all ages for generations, and popcorn machines have become a staple in many businesses, including movie theaters, carnivals, and concession stands. But have you ever wondered about the history of popcorn machines and how they became so popular? In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating history of popcorn machines, from their invention to their evolution into the machines we know and love today.

The Invention of the Popcorn Machine

The first popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors in 1885. Cretors was a candy store owner who wanted to find a way to make popcorn more easily and quickly. He created a machine that popped kernels using steam and had a built-in wagon to move the machine from place to place. The machine was an instant success and was soon being used in circuses, fairs, and other events.

The Popularity of Popcorn in Movie Theaters

Popcorn became a popular snack in movie theaters during the Great Depression, as it was an affordable and tasty treat for people to enjoy while watching a movie. Movie theater owners began to see the potential of selling popcorn to their customers, and popcorn machines became a fixture in theaters across the country. In fact, during World War II, popcorn machines were considered essential for morale-boosting and were shipped overseas to soldiers fighting in the war.

The Evolution of Popcorn Machines

Over the years, popcorn machines have evolved from the original steam-powered machines to electric machines that use hot air to pop kernels. These machines are more efficient and easier to use than their predecessors and are now available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit any business’s needs. Some popcorn machines are even designed to be mobile, making them perfect for events and fairs.

Popcorn Machines in Carnival Concessions

Popcorn machines are now a common sight in carnival concessions, where they are often used to make kettle corn and other flavored popcorns. These machines are an essential part of many carnival and fair experiences and are often used to attract customers with their irresistible smell and sound.

The Future of Popcorn Machines

As technology continues to advance, it’s likely that popcorn machines will continue to evolve and improve. We may see machines that are even more efficient and environmentally friendly, as well as new flavors and styles of popcorn. Whatever the future holds, it’s clear that popcorn machines have become an important part of our cultural history and will continue to be enjoyed by people of all ages for years to come.


The history of popcorn machines is a fascinating one, from their invention by Charles Cretors to their evolution into the machines we know and love today. Popcorn machines have played a significant role in our cultural history, from movie theaters to carnival concessions. As we look to the future, it’s clear that popcorn machines will continue to be an essential part of many businesses and events, bringing joy and deliciousness to people around the world.