Food for Thought: A Short History of Popcorn 9 years ago

Food for Thought: A Short History of Popcorn

We need food and drink to survive, to nourish us and to keep us in tip-top shape. But did you ever wonder about the history behind certain foods?

This week we’re bringing you the history behind popcorn.


The origin of popcorn actually dates back thousands of years, even as far back as 3600 B.C. Evidence of corn that has been carbon-dated was found in New Mexico while even older remnants of the corn were found in what is now known as Peru.

The discovery of corn kernels by Herbert Dick and Earl Smith in New Mexico was found in a dry cave that was known as the “Bat Cave” in 1948.

During the Great Depression in the US, the corn was known to have been fairly inexpensive and its popularity grew and the industry thrived. When food like sugar were being rationed in World War II, its popularity grew even more.

Popcorn was sold all over the place, and though small quantities could be popped in a pot at home, specially designed popcorn machines, had to be invented.


In Chicago, Charles Cretors successfully introduced his invention of the popcorn maker at the Columbian Exposition in 1893. Coincidentally, at this same event, F.W. Rueckheim introduced the "Candied Popcorn".

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are around six places in the country that claim to be the “Popcorn Capital of the World” – all in the mid-west.

Corn used for popcorn production is mostly grown in Indiana and Nebraska and remains popular to this day.