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History of Cotton Candy

July 13, 2014 Comments Off on History of Cotton Candy

Children of all ages love cotton candy, the delicious sugary snack which in appearance looks like a large fuzzy wig.  To many, a pink hue is synonymous with cotton candy, although blue is another popular color. Have you ever wondered how cotton candy come into existence? Come! Let us find out how it all started.

Origin of cotton candy

The existence of the first cotton candy was recorded in Europe in the 18th century. At that time, spun sugar was an expensive, labor-intensive endeavor. Because of this, cotton candy was not generally available to the average person.


Machine-spun cotton candy was invented in 1897 by the dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton. It was introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World‘s Fair as “Fairy Floss” with great success. 68,655 boxes were sold at 25 cents per box (equivalent to $6 per box today).

Evolution of machine manufacturing cotton candy

Morrison and Wharton obtained a patent on their machine in 1899. A year later, fairy floss machines, as they were named, were being sold to candy stores.


The machine operated much like cotton candy machines today. Sugar was heated to a liquid state. The liquid was pushed through a screen to create the strands of sugar. Early cotton candy machines became clogged and broke down frequently so over the years, there were improvements in the mechanical design of the machines to increase reliability. In the 1920s fairy floss was renamed to cotton candy.

In 1900, Thomas Patton received a separate patent for his work with caramelized sugar and forming long threads of it with a fork. He later used a gas-fired rotating plate to spin the threads. In 1949, Gold Metal Products of Cincinnati, Ohio introduced a cotton candy machine with a spring base that helped tremendously. Today, it manufactures almost all cotton candy machines.

In 1972, the first automated machine was used for the production of cotton candy.

Tootsie Roll of Canada Ltd., the world‘s largest cotton-candy manufacturer, makes a fluffy stuff, fruit-flavored version of cotton candy.

What type of cotton candy is your favorite? Tell us.

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