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History of Pop Corn

Where do we begin? The history of popcorn goes way, way back - all the way to 80,000 BCE! Here are few ‘key dates’ in history, but know there is lots more in the cyber world on popcorn. As a matter of fact, our friends over at the Popcorn Board have all kinds’ of historical information you should check out!

  • 4,700 B.C. - Scientists from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Washington's Natural History Museum have uncovered fossilized cobs indicating that people in northeastern Peru were popping kernels as early as 4,700 B.C.!

  • 1492 - As Columbus set foot on American soil, popcorn was there, too! Native Americans who greeted Columbus enjoyed snacking on the fluffy white stuff and made quite a fashion statement with their popcorn necklaces.

  • 1620 - Popcorn played a starring role at the first Thanksgiving. Native Americans in Massachusetts brought bowlfuls of popcorn to the potluck feast!

  • 1700 - Colonial women made the first tasty breakfast cereal by pouring milk and sugar over popcorn.

  • 1885 - The first popcorn “machine” was invented. Until then, poppers were made to sit in front of stores to attract attention. But vendors wanted to be close to the crowds — especially the crowds near movie theaters. So poppers were made that could be pushed on foot, pulled by horse or mounted on trucks.

  • 1914 - Cloid Smith – the founding father of JOLLY TIME® Pop Corn – and his son, Howard Smith, set up shop in their Sioux City, Iowa, home. From their basement they shell, clean and package the first branded popcorn in the U.S.

  • 1924 - JOLLY TIME® obtains the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on all of its products, and still carries it today – longer than any other food product!

  • 1925 - JOLLY TIME® begins packaging popcorn in a metal can developed by the American Can Company (makers of the beer can). This packaging innovation made for a better popping popcorn by sealing in the product's freshness.

  • 1984 - JOLLY TIME® introduces its first microwave popcorn – Butter Flavor.

  • 1997 – JOLLY TIME® debuts its top-selling product – “Blast O Butter” Microwave Pop Corn. As America became more weight-conscious in the 1990s, so did we! As a result, 94% fat free Healthy Pop Butter Flavor popcorn was introduced in 1997 and became widely popular as an alternative to fat-laden snack foods. Following in its savory footsteps, Healthy Pop Kettle Corn was introduced in 2002, followed by Healthy Pop Caramel Apple in 2004.

  • 2003 - JOLLY TIME® hits a milestone, producing its one billionth bag of microwave popcorn in Sioux City, Iowa.

  • 2007 - This year, JOLLY TIME® Pop Corn shook up the snack world when it introduced eye-catching new product packaging. The innovative, luminous orange pallette was introduced to consumers in April 2007. In addition to the new livery, the back of each JOLLY TIME® box features family activity suggestions through the company’s partnership with Family Fun magazine.