Sunday, 8 December 2013


Usually when you pull a Christmas cracker, out pops a joke and a silly hat. However when I pulled one the other day I got a history lesson.

Luckily, I like history so was intrigued to discover how the Christmas cracker came to be and who invented it. These are the details:

The History of Tom Smith
 It was on a trip to Paris in 1840 that an adventurous and forward-thinking Tom Smith discovered the “bon-bon” sugared almond, wrapped in a twist of tissue paper.  Seven years later this simple idea evolved into the Christmas Cracker. 

By placing a small love motto in the tissue paper he created enormous interest in this product, especially at Christmas and it was during a search for inspiration to achieve even greater sales that he casually threw a log on the fire.  The crackle sound, made by the burning log, gave him the idea that would eventually lead to the crackers we know and love today.  After a great deal of hard work and experimentation, he came up with a  cracking mechanism that created a “pop” as the “bon-bon” wrapping was broken.  This eventually became the snap and the cracker was born.

Over the next few years his idea evolved and grew and he moved from his original premises in Clerkenwell, East London, to Finsbury Square in the City.  His sons, Tom, Walter and Henry took over the business when he died and later a drinking fountain was erected in Finsbury Square by Walter, in memory of his mother and to commemorate the man who invented the Christmas Cracker.

It was Walter who introduced the paper hats and he toured the world to find new and unusual ideas for the gifts.

The Company was very aware of current affairs and crackers  were created for Suffragettes, War Heroes, Charlie Chaplin, the Coronation and many other great occasions.  Exclusive crackers were also made for the Royal Family and still are to this day”

Care to pull my cracker your Majesty?

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