Orville Redenbacher gets things poppin'

Many important things happen every day, but on July 16th, we simply must take a moment to give props to Orville Redenbacher on his birthday!  Of course, we can't celebrate a birthday without some tasty treats to pass around, so we're bypassing the cake and dishing out popcorn in Mr. Redenbacher's honor on his special day.  Drop by our concessions stand and grab a free popcorn - all you have to do is mention the secret password, kernel. 

 

Popcorn and movies have had a pretty lovely history together - since we have daily Cosmic Expeditions and Giant Screen Films in our awesome Dome, we figured that perhaps today we'd get things popping with a little popcorn science.  So without further adieu, 10 interesting things you should know about popcorn!  

 

1. Orville Redenbacker's famous popcorn was selected after he experimented with 30,000 hybrids of popping corn.  He wanted just the right fluffiness and flavor, and so, after 30,000 attempts at mastering the qualities of popcorn, he finally struck gold…or butter.  You get the point, that's a lot of variations on one species of corn! 

 

2. Mr. Redenbacher also played around with the genetics of popcorn sizes.  His kernels expanded to 40 times its original size when popped, hence the extra fluffiness. 

 

3. Not every kernel gets popped, that's just a fact of life. Mr. Redenbacher called the un-popped kernels "the shy fellows."

 

4. The original name for his company was Red Bow, combining parts of his and his partner's name.  A marketing agency charged him $13,000 and advised him to call the company "Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn."  Mr. Redenbacher's name went into the popcorn history books, but his partner Charlie Bowman did not have as much luck. 

 

5. The scientific name for popcorn is sea mays everta, the only species of corn that pops! 

 

6. The oldest ears of popcorn were found in a cave in New Mexico and date back nearly 4,000 years!

 

 

7. Popcorn was sold in movie theaters starting in 1912. Before that, it was sold outside of theaters by street vendors and was considered a nuisance by theater owners.  

 

 

8. At the end of World War II, an engineer named Percy Spencer noticed some of his equipment emitted microwave signals.  One day he placed a bag of kernels near the equipment and it started to pop the corn.  This event was the first step towards his big invention, the microwave oven.  Most microwaves now have a 'popcorn' button on them.  

 

 

 

9. As a nation the United States consumes 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn each year! 

 

 

10. How high can a popcorn kernel pop? Pretty far - some can jump up to 3 feet in the air! 

 

Okay, so there you go some interesting facts about popcorn, but how does it pop? Our handy dandy graphic here will guide you from kernel to consumption!  Bon appetite everyone!