What is a “Cracker”?

Tom Smith invented the cracker in 1847. One hundred and sixty-three years later, it is an integral part of many holiday celebrations, and it has become a traditional part of British events.

The cracker is a small cardboard tube covered in a brightly colored twist of paper. At this time of year, one may find the paper has a “holiday” theme, but crackers are used in a variety of ways: Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, invitations, wedding favors, promotional gifts, advertising gimmick, etc.

The cracker is held by two people. When they pull on it, it creates a “popping” sound. Smith originally wanted the product to recreate the sound one hears when placing a long on a fire. The pop comes from the friction of the opposing pressure. It is a small explosive sound, produced by a narrow strip of chemically impregnated paper. The unique part of a Tom Smith cracker is the “gift” hidden inside. Those gifts might be something as simple as a motto or slogan or joke, or they might be something a bit larger, such as a paper party hat, a game, tiny treasures, puzzles, masks, promotional gift, etc. “Today, Tom Smith Group Limited manufactures up to 50 million crackers every year.”

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About reginajeffers

Regina Jeffers is the award-winning author of Austenesque, Regency and contemporary novels.
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