Invented in the 19th century by Herr Fuechtner, in the small town of Seiffen, in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountain) region of Germany, Nutcrackers became best known in the US most likely as a result of the Nutcracker Suite ballet. The original nutcrackers were always Kings, Princes, Soldiers and the like (hence Herr Drosselmeir bringing a Prince to Clara). The reason behind this? It’s all about a play on words: in the German language, to “crack a nut” is to solve a difficult problem. Back in the centuries before Germany was a democracy, the every-day person had always to appeal to his prince to solve the most difficult problems. And so it made sense: to crack your nuts at dessert time, you’d need a King or a Prince.