Lot Number

1903 Cretors Model C Custom Popcorn Wagon

Sold For $26,450

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 5 - 6 OCTOBER 2017

Chassis No.
  • Unique custom-built Cretors wagon
  • Original features, updated to electric power, gas popper
  • Ready to delight children young and old
Please note that this lot is offered on a Bill of Sale.

Charles Cretors, a Decatur, Illinois, confectioner, was disappointed with a steam-powered peanut roaster he had purchased. An inventive soul, he set out to make a better one, which was operating by 1891. He then devised a steam-powered machine that would roast 12 pounds of peanuts and 20 pounds of coffee, and also pop corn and bake chestnuts. By 1900 he was selling horse-drawn popcorn and peanut vending wagons,

painted in bright colors and lettered in gold leaf.

Although most Cretors Popcorn Wagons were ordered from the company catalogue, other options were available. This Model C wagon was custom built in 1903 for a bank in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The bank used it as a promotion for many years, including small replica trinkets and penny banks in the wagon’s image. A series of children’s books was written about the wagon and a mouse character.

When the bank was reorganized in 1970, the wagon went into retirement and was stored for some 20 years. Then it was purchased by Dennis Koepsell, a serious Cretors collector, who restored it at his Eagle River, Wisconsin, facility. The current owner purchased it from Koepsell in 2005, in order to start a second career in the historic city of Delafield, Wisconsin.

As presented, it has original windows, doors, woodwork, beveled glass signage, solid brass finials, awning, steam whistle, and “Roasty” clown, intact and in good condition. The steam engine is a replica of the original, built by Robert Pearson, the recognized expert on Cretors wagons, for Dennis Koepsell. The steam drums have been removed; the steam engine, Roasty clown, and whistle now operate from an electric motor. The drum areas have been converted to service areas. An antique Sweda cash register is included with the wagon, as well as a 1964 Cretors 32-ounce gas popper, fully operational, and a new flatbed trailer for easy transport.

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