CHICAGO -- C. Cretors & Co. is celebrating its 125th year in business, and has begun producing a limited-edition anniversary machine to celebrate. A recreation of an antique popcorn popper fitted with state-of-the-art popping technology, the machine is being handcrafted at Cretors' Chicago headquarters. Only 125 units are being produced, each signed and numbered.
The ninth one was sent to the White House for installation in the theater there.
The anniversary-edition machine incorporates Cretors' exclusive one-pop feature. At the push of a button, the kettle heats, pops a batch of corn and shuts once the popping cycle completes. The gloss-finish red and black machine includes an 8-oz. stainless steel kettle, and is mounted on elegant legs. It measures 21.5" deep x 21.5" wide x 65.75" high. Steam flows out of the vintage scrolled top to diffuse the always-appealing smell of freshly popped corn to the crowd, spurring immediate sales.
"As part of our yearlong celebration of our 125th anniversary as a Chicago-owned and operated company, we decided to produce this special memento," says Andrew Cretors, president of Cretors. "The machine honors the past with traditional design features found only on a Cretors machine, while incorporating modern design technology. It is sure to become a collector's item."
The retro design also features Cretors' own Tosty Rosty Clown, making his first appearance in more than 75 years. Originally designed to attract customers at the turn of the 20th century, the little clown continually bows as he diligently cranks the stirrer blade of the kettle. Tosty Rosty is attired in his red costume, handmade by Linda Cretors, wife of chief executive Charles Cretors,and Laura Cretors, wife of president Andrew Cretors. The women are continuing a tradition begun in the late 1890s, when Andrew Cretors' great-great grandmother made the diminutive clown's first costume.
Established in 1885, Cretors is a leading manufacturer of food-processing and concession equipment, providing foodservice solutions to clients around the world. Its long history of innovation began in 1893, when it launched the first patented steam-driven popcorn machine that popped corn in oil.
Over the company's long history, its foodservice division line has grown to include machines for cotton candy, nachos, caramel corn and hot dogs, along with topping and dispensing equipment, and warming and display cabinets.