- One of only a few in existence to operate using live steam
- The largest vehicle offered in the Cretors product lineup
- Exacting restoration to original specifications
According to Cretors’ company history, “by 1893, Cretors had created a steam powered machine that could roast 12 pounds of peanuts [and] 20 pounds of coffee, pop corn, and bake chestnuts as well. Charles Cretors took his new popcorn wagon to the Midway of Chicago’s Columbian Exposition that year and introduced his new corn product to the public.” The company remains in operation more than 120 years later headed by the fifth generation of the Cretors family.
According to the consignor, this special, improved, and enlarged horse-drawn Model D wagon was the largest vehicle offered in the Cretors product lineup. It was built sometime between 1904 and 1914 in Chicago, Illinois, after which time it is thought to have been shipped to the West Coast of the United States, where it spent most of its life. It was designed for usage with large crowds, hence the number of serving windows and double peanut warming bins. In addition, it is likely that it was transported from one location to another aboard a “circus train.”
The consignor purchased this popcorn wagon in an unrestored state in California in 2005, after which he began a comprehensive restoration. In order to reproduce in exacting detail the beautiful gold-leaf scroll work and painted pinstriping, the consignor has spent considerable time researching Cretors archives while working with a noted artisan (who performs work for such important collections as the Smithsonian Institute). The “Roasty-Toasty Man” inside the wagon and a Cretors advertising symbol are thought to be original from the early 20th century.
The consignor notes that this wagon is restored with complete accuracy and is now one of only a few in existence that can be operated in the original manner using live steam in lieu of propane fuel to power the roasters and poppers, as originally intended by Cretors.