Popcorn Machines and Poppers
Types of popcorn machines - Home and Commercial Models
Although popcorn machines weren't invented until the late nineteenth century, popcorn has a long history that dates back thousands of years. The first mobile popcorn machine was invented by Charles Cretors and made it's first public appearance at the World's Columbian Exposition 1893. Popcorn machines are now a common sight at just about every cinema, theatre and carnival in the country. The love of popcorn combined with new developments have meant that smaller, more economical table top popcorn machines very quickly found their way into thousands of homes across the US.
Choosing the right popcorn machine doesn't normally require that much thought. Most people just tend to go for a brand they trust and a model they like, which is as good a method as any, but it may be wise to consider your choice a little more carefully. Reliability, durability, safety and size are all important and should be factored into the decision-making process. Popcorn popper sizes are quoted in ounces and relates to how many ounces of popcorn the machine can produce in one batch. So if you are buying for a small family of four then a four ounce popper might be perfect, however, you do need to consider the fact that most people will eat more than an ounce of popcorn in one sitting.
Determining the right sized commercial popcorn machine to suit your business needs is a little more difficult. You need to try and estimate how many one-ounce servings you think you would sell in your busiest hour. Then take that number and divide it by 16; the answer is what size popcorn machine you will need. For example, if you think you would go through 125 ounces in an hour, then dividing that by 16 gives you 7.81 which means you will need an eight ounce popcorn popper.
How easy the machine is to clean is a big deciding factor for a lot of people because if a machine is difficult to clean most people simply won't use it. Look out for kettles made from aluminum as this material is extremely easy to clean and comes with two bonus characteristics: it provides the best heat transfer and it is very durable. Good heat transfer means the kettle will heat up quicker, heating the kernels quicker and resulting in less time spent waiting for popped kernels. Also look for machines that have an easy-clean design such as stainless steel clean-out trays and tempered glass.
Note: Safety is obviously very important and all popcorn machines should include a booklet with instructions for assembly, safe operation and cleaning.