Kelling-Karel Co. / Kelling Nut Co., est. 1906

Museum Artifact: Squirrel Nut Cracker, 1910s

Made By: Kelling-Karel Company / Double Kay / Kelling Nut Co., 217 W. Huron St., Chicago, IL

“The ‘Squirrel’ Nut Cracker is suitable for all kinds of table nuts, and is so designed that it cracks the shell but not the kernel. It is adjustable for different sizes of nuts—pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, etc.. Are all easily cracked with it.

Shotwell MFG Co., est. 1903

Museum Artifact: Shotwell’s Popcorn Brittle & 3-to-1 Wax Candy Wrappers, 1920s

Made By: Shotwell MFG Co., 3501 W. Potomac Ave., Chicago, IL

The Shotwell Manufacturing Company is one of Chicago’s forgotten confectionery giants; a former popcorn, candy bar, and marshmallow maker that operated from 1903 to 1952. The firm was notably opportunistic in its business practices—sometimes a tad shady even—and it wouldn’t achieve the longevity or cultural relevance of local rivals like Cracker Jack,

Citrus Products Co., est. 1919

Museum Artifact: Kist Beverages Soda Bottle, c. 1940s

Made By: Citrus Products Co., 11 E. Hubbard St., Chicago, IL

Most Notable Factoid: In 1933, the vice president of Citrus Products fired a gun at his own wife (and missed) after he saw her kissing the president of the company at a party.

Best known for its “Kist” brand of carbonated beverages,

Zeno MFG Co., est. 1890

Museum Artifact: Zeno Chewing Gum Coin-Op Vending Machine, 1908

Made By: Zeno MFG Co., 150-160 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL

It’s been more than 100 years since someone first dropped a penny into this porcelain-enameled steel vending machine, jonesing for a fresh stick of “elegant” Zeno chewing gum. By no coincidence, most awareness of the Zeno Manufacturing Company itself has long since been spat from the public consciousness and trampled over by time,

J. W. Allen & Co., est. 1881

Museum Artifact: J. W. Allen Baking Supply Pail, c. 1940s

Made By: J. W. Allen & Co., 110 N. Peoria St., Chicago, IL

“Our building in Chicago has come to be known as the acknowledged ‘Bakers’ Headquarters.’ We carry in stock and ready for immediate delivery practically everything required for the Baking Industry. This assures our customers with dependable service.”—J.

C. Cretors & Co., est. 1885

Museum Artifacts: Cretors Popcorn Wagon Steam Engine, 1908, and Pop Corn Carton, 1920s

Made By: C. Cretors & Company, 600 W. Cermak Road, Chicago, IL

“Cretors’ Pop Corn is the most pleasing of any in the world. No other novelty gives such a degree of enjoyment and satisfaction for the money. Relished by all, young or old—rich and poor alike, during all seasons of the year—it wins instant success everywhere,

Calumet Baking Powder Company, est. 1889

Museum Artifact: Calumet Baking Powder Tin, c. 1913

Made By: Calumet Baking Powder Co., 4100 W Fillmore St., Chicago, IL

This five-pound canister of Calumet Baking Powder might seem like a cute artifact from a old-timey diner or a small town general store, but make no mistake, you’re looking at a relic from a war . . . the Baking Powder War.

Dad’s Root Beer Co., est. 1937

Museum Artifact: Unopened Dad’s Root Beer “Mama” Bottle, 1960s

Made By: Dad’s Root Beer Co., 2800 N. Talman Avenue, Chicago, IL

“It’s a completely new idea! Genuine draft root beer in bottles!”

When Dad’s Root Beer creators Ely Klapman and Barney Berns rolled out their first big national ad campaign in 1941, they did so with an immediate contradiction in terms—a “completely new” thing was also promoted as the “old fashioned” root beer.

The Cracker Jack Co., est. 1871

Museum Artifact: Cracker Jack Cocoanut Corn Crisp Tin, c. 1930

Made By: The Cracker Jack Company, 4800 W. 66th Street, Chicago, IL

“You can eat as much as you like!” That’s how the Cracker Jack Company marketed its new Cocoanut Corn Crisp to America in 1928, assuring all snackers that these “luscious lumps of goodness” were “healthful, pure, and wholesome.” Not being a doctor or nutritionist,

Bunte Brothers, est. 1876

Museum Artifacts: Bunte “Fine Confections, “Diana,” “Stuft” and “World Famous Candies” Tins by Bunte Brothers, 1910s-1930s

Made By: Bunte Brothers Candy, 3301 W. Franklin Blvd., Chicago, IL

Which industry best exemplified the spirit of Chicago at its manufacturing zenith? The steel mills? The Union Stock Yards? The railroads? Architecture?

Nope. It was definitely candy—sweet, delectable, teeth-rotting candy.

For the thousands of Chicago factory workers employed in the confectionery trade,

Oh Henry! and the Williamson Candy Co., est. 1917

Museum Artifact: Oh Henry! Candy Bar Box, c. 1950s

Made By: Williamson Candy Company, 4701 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, IL

Introduced by the Williamson Candy Co. in 1920, the Oh Henry! was the first of Chicago’s holy trinity of chocolate/peanut/caramel candy bars, pre-dating the Baby Ruth (Curtiss Candy Co.) by a year* and Snickers (Mars, Inc.) by a decade.

Mars Inc., est. 1911

Museum Artifact: Snickers Candy Bar Display Box, 1958

Made By: Mars Incorporated, 2019 N. Oak Park Ave, Chicago, IL

Chocolate, though universally appealing, is not a universal language. In the United Kingdom, for example—as many confused Americans learn every day—the “Mars Bar” is basically their version of a Milky Way, while their Milky Way tastes more like a 3 Musketeers (a brand that doesn’t exist overseas).

The Standard Brewery, est. 1892

Museum Artifact: Standard Brewery “OaKay” Export Beer Bottle, c. 1910

Made By: The Standard Brewery, W . Roosevelt Rd. and S. Campbell Ave., Chicago, IL

It might seem like we’re currently living in the golden era of the regional micro-brewery, what with upwards of 3,000 “craft beer” producers now in operation in the U.S., and about 70 inside the Chicago city limits alone. The “brew-pub” phenomenon,