History

It began over 100 years ago when Charles Cretors had a vision to adapt an ancient process to meet the needs of modern tradesmen. Little did he know that his vision would lead to a revolution that continues today. His concepts and designs set the foundations for both modern foodservcice and food processing industries as we know them today. Long considered the cornerstone in the industry,
C. Cretors and Company design and manufactures equipment that provides solutions.

1880's|1890's|1900's|1910's|1920's|1930's|1940's|1950's|1960's|1970's|1980's|1990's|2000's|2010's

1880-1890
Charles Cretors opens a confectionary shop in Decatur, Illinois. Workers made candy right in the window so that passersby could see how their future purchases were created. Always on the lookout for new attractions, Charles bought a steam-powered peanut roaster. Roasted peanuts were a popular snack food and a logical addition to his offerings. Disappointed with his new acquisition, he felt he could make a better product and set out about doing so. Charles had a passion for how things worked and how they could be made to work better. Soon, Charles Cretors moved to Chicago where he felt he could become a commercial success.  

Charles Cretors bought a peddlers license and put his new roaster machine on the sidewalk in front of his shop. It wasn't long before Cretors met J.M. Savage, a traveling salesman who knew a good thing when he saw it. After his purchase of freshly roasted peanuts, Savage looked at Cretors and said "You know, I'll wager that I could sell these in my territory. Cretors responded "I bet you could too." And C. Cretors and Company first sales department was born.

 

1891 Roaster
Back to top


 

1890-1900

By 1893, Cretors had created a steam powered machine that could roast 12 pounds of peanuts, 20 pounds of coffee, pop corn and bake chestnuts as well. Cretors' machine design offered several advantages over the hand-operated process. First as a machine, it made operation more predictable and it provided an attraction for both the retailer and the customer. There was the novelty of the steam engine, the Tosty Rosty Man, a small mechanical clown that acted as a merchandiser for the machine.

Charles Cretors took his new popcorn wagon to the Midway of Chicago's Columbian Exposition in 1893 and introduced the new corn product to the public. The smell of roasting peanuts and of hot buttered corn being popped in its seasoning right before the buyers eyes was enough to attract attention and ultimately sales.

 
Bamburger's Store
Back to top



 

1900-1910
Patents Received: Patent # 728,550: Popcorn Machine Design, Patent # 728,549:Peanut Roaster Design

By 1900, Cretors introduced the Special – the first large horse drawn popcorn wagon. It was an immediate success. Three variations of this wagon were created and for the first time in 15 years, C. Cretors and Company showed a nice profit. The machines were, for the most part, still nearly custom made, holding to the Cretors tradition – meeting the specific needs of specific customers. This was also the time period that electricity was becoming the wave of the future. Charles Cretors created the first popcorn machine with an electric motor. Charles did what he knew best – to give his customers the best he had to offer and the best they could buy anywhere. As a result, C. Cretors and Company holds one of the oldest active Underwriter Laboratory numbers (EA4175) for electrically operated machinery. The Earnmore popper was introduced at this time.


Improved Special Model D Wagon
Back to top 



 

1910-1920
Model Introduced: Earnmore Popper

Cretors remained the leader in the business, even when competition began to emerge. The electric poppers soon took to market and electricity quickly became the choice of power. Steam power had a long reputation for being complicated and dangerous. Electricity was simply quieter, more efficient and more adaptable. This was also the decade where movies. The Earnmore popper become Cretors most popular model. 2/3 of Cretors sales were of Earnmores. Motion pictures were first introduced with the 1917 picture, “The Birth of a Nation”.

 
Earnmore
Back to top



 

1920-1930
Model Introduced: Improved Model 400
Patent Received: 1,436,862: Electric Peanut Roaster

The Model 400 popper was designed to produce and store more popcorn as theatre attendance steadily grew. Steam powered machines and wagon sales began to decline as the electric models began to take hold. The last steam-powered Earnmore made was sold on November 22, 1929. In 1929, “Steam Boat Willie”, a cartoon produced by Walt Disney, introduced Mickey Mouse to the movie going public. The cartoon was the first motion picture to include sound with motion.


Model 400 
Back to top



 

1930-1940
1934 Charles John Cretors (Third Generation) entered the business.
Model Introduced: Majestic, Junior, Opportunity, Anniversary, Hollywood and the Giant 41

At this point, the Depression hit. The hard times people faced spurred the success of the movies. The movies always had provided an escape from reality, and in the Depression, people sought escape more than ever in the make-believe of films. The movie theater operators originally did not allow the machines inside the buildings because it wasn’t “respectable”. However, the operators began to take the use of popcorn machine as an extra profit maker more seriously. Cretors introduced various machine models designed specifically for movie theatre and concession stand use. They were designed to replace the Earnmore.

 
Hollywood
Back to top



 

1940-1950
Model Introduced: Super 60, Manual oil pumps added in poppers, Develop the OVT (Official Volume Tester) as a laboratory machine to measure popcorn quality for Popcorn Processors Association.
Patent Received: 1941 Patent # 2,254,271: Two piece automatic open cover for pedestal style poppers and demonstrates pins to retain kettle cover

C. Cretors and Company along with the rest of the world was faced with World War II. In 1941 the War Production Board issued L-65, stopping all non-war-related production. The U.S. was officially in World War II, and the country was being mobilized for the effort. Cretors was out of the popcorn business. Completed machines could not be sold, partly assembled machines could not be completed and the stock on hand could not be fabricated for more machines. As a result, C.J. went to work for the war effort and become a government supplier. Cretors purchased new production equipment and lined itself themselves up for continued operation – producing aircraft oil line fittings and mechanical radio components among other things. After the war, the company, as did all other manufacturing companies, faced a shortage of materials. Cretors introduced the Super 60, a popcorn machine with an all walnut cabinet.

 
Super 60
Back to top



 

1950 – 1960
Models Introduced: Ambassador machine: 1954 Designed by Raymond Lowey, Olympic Popcorn Machine – First machine with automatic oil pump. Named after the Helsinki Olympics, Giant Special Popping Plant. OWVT (Official Weight Volume Tester) 2nd Generation of the OVT and is more accurate
Patents Received: Patent #2,803,891 Popcorn storing and dispensing Machine Patent #2,856,841 Automatic electric oil pump in popcorn machine.

Television quickly emerged, and the motion picture industry suffered immensely as more homes acquired televisions. The popcorn industry suffered from an image problem. The movies had almost single-handedly been the salvation of the business during the 1930’s. In the process, people had so inextricably tied the two together that they came to feel that the only time one ate popcorn was at the movie house. The solution to the problem was to change the image of popcorn and reach new markets. Raymond Lowey, the world-renowned industrial designer was hired by C.J. to redesign the Hollywood popcorn machine. Lowey had been responsible for the “new” look of the Studebaker, generally regarded as the sleekest, most modern-looking automobile of the day. Lowey streamlined the machine, giving it a more “space age” look. The Ambassador became a hallmark of the Cretors line until 1968 when it was replaced with the Diplomat machine. Through press releases, newsletters, PR stunts and independent test results, Cretors retained their position as undisputed leader of the industry. The market for Cretors products changed dramatically after television drew people away from movie theaters. The company turned to large volume users and developed machines for their use. The Olympic series was intended specifically for large concession stands in theatres, stadiums and drive-in movie theatres. The Giant Special Popping Plant was designed and was ideal for busy users who required volume production and appreciated the maximum profits high volume made possible.

 
Ambassador
Back to top



 

1960-1970
Models Introduced: The Cretormatic, the fully automatic popcorn machine, President, Pace Maker, Duchess, 7600 Automatic Pump, Hot Air Flo-Thru Popper is designed, Pail mounted pumps replacing oil drawers
Patents Received: Patent # 3,134,510 Popcorn warmer and Dispenser, Patent # 3.167,453 Caramelizer Kettle Design, Patent # 3,272,111 Popcorn Popper

1960 marks 75 years in business for C. Cretors and Company.  The Olympic machine gave way to the more simplified President series. This machine was designed to be more user friendly in the for the serving counter configuration of many of the new and larger theaters and larger outdoor stadiums. Cretors introduced the Pacemaker and the Duchess, new small economy priced machines. The Pacemaker was the first popper to offer an optional 7600 Automatic Seasoning pump – the only economy priced machine with this feature. Cretors replaced the Ambassador with the Diplomat in 1968.  All kettles were steel except the Pacemaker and Duchess line.

1967 C.D. Cretors joins the business. Working with CJ, CD developed the first continuous hot air popcorn machine comprised of a hot air fluidized bed oven.


Cretormatic 
Back to top



 

1970-1980
Models introduced: Windsor – has all the features of a luxury models in a medium priced machine.
Patents Received: 1972: Patent #3,645,422 Feeder for Flo-Thru, 1973: Patent #3,739,953 Popcorn oil metering device (Wet Pop Plants), 1974: MWVT (Metric Weight Volume Tester) replaces the OWVT in response to changes in popcorn hybrids., 1976: Red Top line introduced with T-2000 Stainless steel cabinet and all steel kettle., 1977: 7700 Pump introduced replaces 7600 pump
.
CD continues to develop the first hot continuous hot air popcorn machine, and creates the first official "Red Top Line" of poppers with the 12 oz. T-2000 leading the way.

 
Windsor
Back to top



 

1980-1990
Models Introduced: Profiteer replaces the Pacemaker , T-2000 replaces the Duchess, Merchant replaces the Windsor, 1983: Goldrush is introduced
Patents received: 1980: Patent #4,206,695 patent on spring dump kettle supports, 1986: Digital MWVT – continues to respond to popcorn hybrid changes and improved accuracy.
1987: Ringmaster introduced with revolutionary collector ring and motor mounting system and traditional heat elements.

The Red top line expands to include the new 6 oz. Goldrush and 14 oz. Profiteer.

On July 7, 1988, The United States Postal Service issues a 16.7 cent postage stamp that features an illustration of the Cretors 1902 Model of the No. 1 Wagon. It was issued as part of the transportation series. It was done to pay tribute to America's first snack and the machine that made it all possible.

 
Goldrush
Back to top



 

1990-2000
Models Introduced: Headliner , High output poppers designed – 32 oz. Diplomat and 48oz. Giants, 2500 Flo-thru built
1990: First popcorn machine to carry CE mark.
1993: Ringmaster redesigned with tubular elements.
1994: Bag-in-Box Patent
Patents Received: 1995: Patent #5,397,210 Drain back valve for BIB permits use of solid oil without heat tracing on oil line, 1997: Patent #5,662,024 Logic controller, 1998: G’Zilla popper with 240 oz. kettle
.  As theatres go through a major business boom, Cretors expands its product lines to accommodate the new demands in the marketplace. The Headliner, with 360 degree merchandising that includes, four back-lit signs,  and fluorescent accent lights introduced as the newest luxury popcorn machine.   Cretors responds to the Cotton Candy market with a newly designed cotton candy machine that does not use the traditional ribbons and bands design. Instead, tubular heating elements are used, creating a simpler and much more efficient machine.

In 1997, Andrew Cretors joins the business, bringing with him the expertise to bring the company's computer system into the 21st century.

 
Headliner
Back to top



 

2000-2010
Models Introduced:
2003: 60 oz. Kettle
2010: Mach 5
Patents Received: 
2000: Patent #6,123,011 Roc & Roll Bin

2005: Patent #6,872,923 One Pop control.
Cretors continues to innovate, create and solve problems in the marketplace. The 60 oz. kettle is added to both suspended and pedestal poppers, increasing production capacity. Cretors begins to focus on machine options such as One-Pop, Salt/Sugar switches, stainless steel kettles, among others to allow buyers to essentially create a machine that suits their specific needs in the field. The emergence of other food service equipment are quick to come including warming cabinets, expanded topping and dispensing systems, hot dog, nacho cheese, and caramelizing and nut roasting equipment.  The MACH 5 is the last addition to the Cretors line in this decade.  This popper not only the result of new manufacturing technology, but it also marks the fifth generation of Cretors' leadership in the inudstry as well as the fifth generation of a popular popper.


In 2006, C.D. Cretors officially retires as Company President to become CEO, and Andrew Cretors is promoted as the company's 5th President.

 

MACH 5
Back to top

 
  
 

2011-2020
Models introduced:
2011: The OriginatAir Hot Air Popper and Puffer
2011: The Hot Dog Grill 36
Cretors kicked off the next century of business with the new OriginatAir, the lasest addition to the hot air popper and puffer line that is designed for the gourmet caramel corn and theater businesses.  As Cretors enters it's third century of buisness, we are offering a healthier alternative to popcorn production.  Instead of oil, this machine uses hot air to pop corn and puff other snackfoods.  Cretors also expanded its hot dog grill offerings to include a hot dog grill that has two heat zones that will allow product to cook on one side, and warm on the other.