The Cretors Company in Chicago invented the use of steam engines to pop popcorn and roast nuts in horse drawn vending wagons in the 1890’s. This particular engine was originally installed in a horse-drawn #1 Popcorn Wagon built by Cretors. It was delivered to a Mr. Joseph Smith in Modesto, CA on March 14, 1913, and is serial number 8130. The Cretors Company is still in existence and their records were able to provide the above information.

This double-acting horizontal steam engine with flyball governor is a masterpiece of sturdy, simple engineering. The Number 1 engine has a Bore of 1-1/2″, a Stroke of 3″, and a flywheel diameter of 8″. These rare engines are highly sought after among steam engine collectors.

Exhibit added: March 2, 2011 - Last modified: March 30, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship