The Christmas cracker seems ubiquitous in Britain at this time of year - in shops, on tables, and in seasonal illustrations. It's also a London invention: confectioner Tom Smith was apparently inspired by the French papillote wrapped sweet, but added the snap, in 1847. Legend has it he was inspired by the crackle of a log on a fire. Of course, other manufacturers soon began creating their own crackers - so Smith's son Walter swapped the original sweet inside for gifts and paper hats. Tom Smith's contribution to Christmas tradition is marked by a fountain in Finsbury Square.
The BFI Archives have shared this film from 1910, showing crackers being made - and ending with a strange seasonal twist!