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An Age of Invention

1885 – 1900


While in Decatur, IL, Charles Cretors purchases a peanut roaster made in Oskaloosa, IA. Dissatisfied with his peanut roaster, he sells everything and moves to Chicago to build a better machine which includes a steam engine to drive it. He draws attention to both the roaster and product with a small mechanical clown figurine, Tosty Rosty, that turns a tumbler filled with peanuts.

Charles purchases a peddler’s license on December 2, 1885 and C. Cretors and Company is born.

peddler certification
peanut roaster


Charles brings his new invention to the Columbian Exposition and introduces popcorn to the world.

Up until now, corn is dry popped in a basket over a fire. Butter is poured over the popcorn to season it, but it is not distributed evenly.

Charles' invention is the process of popping the corn in the "seasoning" which seasons and coats every kernel alike. The steam engine provides power to run the agitator blades in the bottom of the popping kettle to stir the popcorn while it cooks.

Worlds fair
Popcorn wagon


A Cretors Model #1 wagon is sold to Netherland Gist and Spiritus Fabriek for $400 and becomes the first Cretors wagon to be exported to Delft, Holland. It is still owned and on display at the sucessor company, Unilever.


C. Cretors and Company moves to 620 W. Cermak Road in Chicago and remains there for 76 years.

1900 Building