Americans eat some 16 billion quarts of popocorn; that’s 54 quarts for each man, woman, and child. Fall is the peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption. It’s one of the oldest American foods. Ears of popcorn about 4,000 years old were found in the Bat Cave in west central New Mexico. By the 1840’s popping corn had become a popular recretional activity and by 1870, popcorn was commonly sold in grocery stores and at concession stands at circuses, carnivals, and street fairs. The first mobile popcorn machine was exhibited in 1893. One enterprising movie theater owner lowered the price of his movie tickets and added a popcorn machine. He saw huge profits. Now most people associate popcorn with the movies. Also, popping popcorn has become one of the number one uses for microwave ovens and most microwaves have a “popcorn” control button. Microwave popcorn in expandable, flexible paper packages is a staple for many people. U.S. patent 6,884,978 shows a typical package. There are many other popcorn patents, such as Popcorn Bowl (D542,096) , an old fashioned Corn Popper (609,160), and even Popcorn Ice Cream (D468,073). The Popcorn Board offers tasty recipes, “corny facts,” and popcorn trivia. Some of the popcorn patents are on exhibit in the Patent and Business section of the Library.
October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month October 6, 2008