FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions About Cracker Jack

Cracker Jack FAQ

How many Cracker Jack prizes are there?

It is widely accepted that Cracker Jack has given away more than 23 billion prizes since it began to include a prize inside its packages.

Insofar as identifying how many types of Cracker Jack prizes have ever existed, that information is not readily available. Certainly there have been thousands of different prizes and if you factor in different colors and variations, that number increases exponentially.

What is Cracker Jack made of?

Cracker Jack is made of caramel-coated popcorn with peanuts. Originally it was made with molasses. According to Wikipedia, the "secret" to keeping Cracker Jack from sticking together is oil--a little bit of oil is added to the caramel-coated confectionery when it is mixed.

Did Cracker Jack always include a "Surprise Inside" the box?

According to the old crackerjack.com website, "A Prize in Every Box" was officially introduced in 1912. From that time on, a prize was included in each box of Cracker Jack. The early prizes included baseball cards, small metal or tin lithograph toys, and paper booklets.

Originally the makers of Cracker Jack, the Rueckheim Brothers, made and sold Cracker Jack in streets stands or at fairs. So the product was fresh and not packaged. After the development of the moisture-proof package in 1899, Cracker Jack was sold in boxes and began to be distributed throughout the United States.

While very popular in the early 1900s, Cracker Jack needed a way to differentiate itself from competitors selling similar products or snacks. As was popular at the time, coupons that could be collected and mailed in for prize redemption were printed on or included in Cracker Jack boxes. Also for promotional purposes, Cracker Jack vendors were provided prizes that they could randomly give away with a box of Cracker Jack. While the Cracker Jack prize or premium may date back to the early 1900s, it wasn't until 1912 that the "Surprise Inside" became a standard Cracker Jack offering.

How old is Cracker Jack?

Cracker Jack has been around for more than a century.

In 1993, Borden, Inc. the company that owned the Cracker Jack brand at that time celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Cracker Jack. This was in keeping with the legend that the creators of Cracker Jack, the Rueckheim Brothers, first introduced the product to the world at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. However, the popcorn snack was not named Cracker Jack until 1896. It's also worth noting that some consider 1872, the year that the Rueckheim Brothers joined together to produce the popcorn confectionery as the official start of Cracker Jack.

Who created Cracker Jack?

The caramel-coated popcorn and peanut concoction that became Cracker Jack was first developed in the late 1800s by the Rueckheim brothers. The origins of the famed snack food started in Chicago in 1871 when German-born Frederick William Rueckheim began selling a popcorn confection coated with molasses. In 1873 Rueckheim brought his brother Louis into the business.

According to the old crackerjack.com website, the Rueckheims introduced an early version of what would become Cracker Jack to the world at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. At the time, it was still an unnamed product. Then, in 1896 Louis improved the popcorn recipe by discovering the "secret" to keeping the molasses-coated popcorn from sticking together and forming clumps. That year, the Rueckheim brothers christened the popcorn confection "Cracker Jack" and a new snack brand was created.