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Cracker Jack is a U.S.marker brand of snack consisting of caramel-coated popcorn [caramel corn] and peanuts. It is also well known for being packaged with a "Toy Surprise Inside" of nominal value.


1893: Frederick William Rueckheim (known to friends and family as "Fritzl") and his brother Louis mass produce Cracker Jack and sell it at the first Chicago World's Fairmarker in 1893. At the time, it was a mixture of popcorn, molasses, and peanuts and was called "Candied Popcorn and Peanuts".

1896: Rueckheim devises a way to keep the popcorn kernels separate. As each batch was mixed in a cement-mixer-like drum, a small quantity of oil was added — a closely-guarded trade secret. Before this change, the mixture had been difficult to handle as it stuck together in chunks. In 1896, the first lot of Cracker Jack was produced. It was named by an enthusiastic sampler who remarked, "That's a Cracker Jack!"

1899: Henry Gottlieb Eckstein developed the "waxed sealed package" for freshness, known then as the "Eckstein Triple Proof Package," a dust, germ and moisture-proof paper package. In 1902, the company was re-organized; Rueckheim Bros. & Eckstein.

1912: Prizes included in Cracker Jack boxes for the first time. These attained pop-culture status with the term "came in a Cracker Jack box" referring to an object of limited value. In recent years, the toy and trinket prizes have been replaced with paper prizes displaying riddles and jokes.

1918: Mascots Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo, are introduced (though they were not registered as trademark logos until 1919.

1964: The Cracker Jack Company is purchased by Borden after a bidding war between Borden and Frito-Lay.

1997: Borden sells the brand to Frito-Lay.

Popular culture

An old Cracker Jack box, also featuring Sailor Jack and Bingo

See also


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