It might seem unlikely, but once upon a time the cereal you tiredly shove into your face every morning came out of a gun. But it was a very special kind of gun: a puffing gun.

In fact, the puffing cannon was a major turning point in food technology, allowing starchy foods to be heated and pressurized to the point where they explode into... well, larger, puffier structures. A bit like making popcorn, it gave rise to the kind of puffed rice and corn that ends up in your cereal bowl.

Now, the puffing cannon has been superseded by fancier industrial processes—but Dave Arnold, founder of a new Museum of Food and Drink in New York City, has built a working replica from turn-of-the-century patents. Watch it in glorious slow-mo action here—it's pretty fun. [MOFAD.org via PopSci via Verge]