Tom Smith, a baker of wedding cakes from Clerkenwell, London, invented the Christmas cracker in 1847. The events that led to these wonderful creations were quite a story. In 1940, Smith went to Paris and came across 'Bon bon', an almond sweet wrapped in paper that was twisted. He liked the taste so much that he began selling the 'new' sweets in London and they became very popular. Tom, who was always on a lookout for new promotion opportunities, noticed that his sweet had become popular gifts for loved ones and sweethearts of young men. Chinese fortune cookies inspired him to introduce small slips of paper inside the wrapping that had love mottos on them.
By 1846, he had become a successful businessman. One day, while he was
enjoying the warmth of his fireplace, the crackle of a log gave him a
new idea. He started experimenting to try to reproduce it in his sweets.
In his pursuit, there were many failures and on certain occasions even
his furniture and hands were burnt. Finally, he got it right. He took
two strips of thin card and pasted small strips of salt petre on them.
When these cards were pulled away, they produced a crack and a spark.
Within a year, Tom's latest inventions had become a fashion. The sweets
were first called 'Cosaques' after the cracking of the Cossack's whips.
It was only after a decade that they came to be known as Christmas
Christmas crackers became so popular that many competitors sprung up in
the market. The designer and colorful wrappers were used as promotional
techniques and they were sold by half-a-dozen and one dozen packs in
matching boxes. Thus, Tom Smith was virtually forced to get his designs
patented and his company came to be known as the Tom Smith Crackers. By
1880s, Smith's company had already produced over hundred cracker
designs. By 1900, Smith had sold more than 13 million crackers that were
not only used at Christmas but also at other festivities, fairs and
coronations. Tom later added small toys to his crackers. In 1933,
printed foil wrappers were introduced and then as the designs evolved
glass pendants, brooches, bracelets and other jewellery were included in
Read history of Christmas crackers, origin of Christmas cracker, and its invention by Tom Smith.