No day out to the cinema is complete without an oversized bucket of popcorn. Popcorn has always been associated with the American diet as it became an important snack food during the Great Depression where bags of popcorn were being sold for as little as 5 cents.
As a matter of fact, popcorn was first discovered thousands of years ago by the Native Americans who often believed that the popping noise was the sound of an angry god who escaped the kernel.
When heated, the kernels actually explode, resulting in those tasty little puffs of corn we all love. Unlike other grains, popcorn kernels are very dense and have a hard, moisture-sealed hull. This hard hull means that pressure builds up rapidly when heated as the molecules expand and vibrate inside the kernel which eventually creates that charismatic popping sound.
It wasn't until 1885 that Charles Cretors invented the first popcorn machine. Cretors developed a series of large-scale popcorn machines and then made a living from selling his popcorn and other roasted goodies.

In 1893, Cretors designed a steam -powered version of his original invention. This enabled him to increase his yield of popcorn considerably while at the same time enabling him to roast peanuts and other treats.

Over the decades, his original model (known as The Roaster) was improved until eventually, after over 120 years of production, we have the popcorn makers available to us today (both large and small).

The introduction of microwave popcorn in the 1980s also boosted sales. Not only is pre-packaged microwavable popcorn a cheaper way of cooking popcorn, but the packaging is also disposable, meaning there is very little washing up to do. Even today, this easier option is a lot more popular than popcorn makers, but both methods contribute considerably to the 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn Americans consume each year.

Today, there are many different popcorn makers available which all perform more or less the same task. Prices vary for a standard model and increase as the capacity becomes larger. The more expensive models can flavour your popcorn for you and can produce much larger amounts.
Some models have additional components such as long chutes, pivoting measuring cups and an automated stirring device which ensures that toppings are evenly dispersed and that all kernels pop.