Christmas crackers

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According to Tom Smith's, the leading cracker manufacturers in Britain, crackers were invented by their founder, a London confectioner, in 1847, Smith's idea was based on French bon-bons, sweets wrapped in screwed-up coloured paper, to which he added first a motto and then the characteristic snapper, inspired by a crackling log on his fire; it was an immediate success. However, it should be noted that the OED gives two slightly earlier references (1841 and 1844) to people ‘exploding a cracker bonbon’ or ‘pulling’ one, implying a rather more complex history.

Tom Smith Group, A History of the Cracker (booklet c.1997).

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