Though popcorn probably originated in Mexico, it was grown in China, Sumatra and India years before Columbus came to America. in fact A 1,000-year-old popped kernel of popcorn was found in southwestern Utah, in a dry cave inhabited by predecessors of the Pueblo Indians. Many believe the first use of wild and early-cultivated corn was for popping.
Most popcorn of 8 centuries ago was tough and slender-stalked. The kernels were also quite resilient. Researchers have also found grains of popcorn perhaps 1,000 years old in tombs on the east coast of Peru. These grains are so well preserved that they will still pop. In the desert, winds have been known to blow desert sands from ancient burials, exposing kernels of popped corn that look fresh and white but are several centuries old.
The oldest known corn pollen is barely distinguishable from the modern corn pollen, based upon the 80,000-year-old fossil found 200 feet below Mexico City.
In 1612, Early French explorers traveling through the Great Lakes region reported that the Iroquois popped popcorn in a pottery vessel with heated sand and used it to make popcorn soup.
Quadequina, brother of the Wampanoag chief Massasoit, brought a deerskin bag of popped corn to the English colonists at the first Thanksgiving Feast at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Addiitionally the first "puffed" breakfast cereal eaten by Europeans was popcorn. Colonial housewives served it with sugar and cream for breakfast.
The first mobile popcorn machine was invented by Charlie Cretors in 1885. He made poppers that could be pushed on foot, pulled by horse or mounted on trucks. Prior to his invention stationary poppers sat in front of stores to attract attention. The Cretors popper allowed vendors to be close to the crowds, especially the crowds near movie theaters.
Percy Spencer, in 1945, discovered that popcorn placed under microwave energy popped. This led to other food experiments, and the birth of the microwave oven.