History of popcorn: Fun facts about the movie theater snack

According to The Popcorn Board, the oldest-known ears of corn that were popped are from about 4,000 years ago and were discovered in current-day New Mexico in 1948 and 1950.  

Meanwhile, History.com reported in 2018 that there were traces of popcorn in 1,000-year-old Peruvian tombs. 

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Popcorn was also significant to the Aztec people for eating, ceremonies and decorations, according to The Popcorn Board. 

Wednesday is National Popcorn Day. 

Wednesday is National Popcorn Day.  (iStock)

The snack became a common food in American households by the mid-1800s, according to History.com. Popcorn was popular for late-night snacks by the fire and at picnics, the website reported. 

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In the 1890s, Charles Cretors created the first popcorn-popping machine, and by 1900, he created a horse-drawn popcorn wagon, which led to mass consumption of the snack, History.com reported.

Popcorn didn’t hit movie theaters until the Great Depression, according to Smithsonian Magazine. In fact, the movie theaters that started selling popcorn were able to survive the Great Depression, while other movie theaters had to close because of poor sales.

 

The first microwave popcorn bag was patented by General Mills in 1981, according to History.com.

Today, Americans consume 15 billion quarts of popcorn per year, according to The Popcorn Board. 

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