It is unknown who was the first person to invent caramel popcorn, though it is said that several patents for candy-coated popcorn were given out in the mid-1800s. Though it is unknown who invented it, it is known that the confection was being made in the 1870s.
Sweetened popcorn was commonly available prior to the invention of caramel corn. Kettle corn, seasoned with salt and sweetened with sugar, was popular throughout the 1800s. In the 1890s, the widely-known commercial caramel popcorn, Cracker Jack, was introduced in the public. Legends surround the history of this product and when it was first introduced, but the name was registered in 1896 when the company started producing on a large scale.