As in all great stories of invention there is a eureka moment where the apple falls from the tree and everything fits into place in the mind of the thinker.
In 1847, the year that saw the publication of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre and the birth of Alexander Graham Bell; Tom Smith, seated alone, began to feel the chill air of a cold night, and placing another log on the fire, heard a snap and crackle as the flames began to dance about and in that one moment was inspired with an idea that would change the celebration of Christmas forever. He would make his bon bons open with a snap! Christmas Crackers were born.
Once he had grasped his idea there was no rest for Tom or his staff, every minute of every day was used to perfect the new cracker. Tom wanted to redesign every aspect of his bon bon without losing any of its charm, however, it soon became apparent that it would have to be considerably bigger and sturdier to accommodate a device that would make a ‘snap’ and with this in mind, something even more radical began to emerge...it might even need two people to pull it apart! This was no longer a matter of simply removing a sweet from a piece of twisted tissue! Something big was brewing! Although the notion of ‘health and safety’ was still a hundred and fifty years down the road, Tom had no desire to blow up his customers and so endless experiments ensued. Eventually he ignited saltpetre by means of friction causing a sound that was so reminiscent of a Cossack whip that he called his first Christmas cracker a Cosaque!