In 1899, a dentist — yep! — by the name of William J. Morrison, and a candy maker, John C. Wharton, received their patent for the cotton candy making machine… prior to this, sugar was spun by hand. Together, the pair sold 68,655 boxes at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Selling for $0.25 per box, the duo earned more than $17,000 during the fair’s six-month run.
Instead of melting sugar in a pan over an open fire, it was melted by an electric heating element at the base of a funnel-shaped dish. Instead of flinging the substance with a fork, the machine rotated rapidly, flinging the syrup through tiny holes in the funnel using centrifugal force. An outer bowl caught the threads as they cooled. The finished product was fine and fluffy, almost ethereal. Thus, the inventors dubbed it “fairy floss.” The name “cotton candy” didn’t become popular until the 1920s.
Fast forward to today, and not much advancement has been made in actually crafting a wad of cotton candy. Maybe this was the thought process of these vendors who create flowers from various hues of spun sugar.
- How Cotton Candy Works (howstuffworks.com
- Create Old-Fashioned Cotton Candy Right in Your Kitchen (lifehacker.com)