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In 1978, the first automated machine was used for the production of cotton candy.

Can a “Cotton Candy Machine” be invented by a dentist? Generally a dentist advises to reduce or eliminate food containing added sugar. “Sweet poison” is the blissful delight on earth. No power can distract us if colorful candy floss attracts our attention and which melts once it gets past our lips.

Machine spun candies were invented by dentist William James Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton in the year 1897. In fact, they sold 68,655 boxes for 25 cents per box. They packaged them in the wooden boxes and named their candies as “Fairy Floss”.

Idiot'story Cotton Candy
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COTTON CANDY OR FAIRY FLOSS

There’s one for everyone…

Early in the 15th century, Italians cooked sculptures from spun sugar over wooden broom handles with a fork.  There is also evidence that in the 16th century an all sugar banquet was decorated with spun sugar cutlery and tablecloth to treat Henri III of France. Marie-Antoine Carême, a French chef who made Napoleon’s wedding cake received fame for his spun sugar windmill, gondolas and palaces in 19th century.

Furthermore, in Elizabeth Raffald’s book named “The Experienced English Housekeeper (1769)”, we find gold and silver webs recipes. These webs were used for covering sweetmeats. They were specially made using the tip of a knife to draw up and whip sugar syrup in a quick zigzag manner onto a mould.

Idiot'story Cotton Candy
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More about Morrision and his invention

Morrison, a dentist, lawyer, author and leader of civic and political affairs was born in Nashville in 1860. In 1864 he excelled in dentistry school and was named President of the Tennessee State Dental Association.

It is also important to note here that he was a confection enthusiast with a fondness for culinary advancement. He even discovered a process for extracting oils from cotton seed and converting them to lard substitute. Similarly, he devised a chemical process to purify drinking water.

Morrison and Wharton designed the “electric candy machine”. The electric device contained a spinning head which was filled with sugar crystals and perforated with tiny holes. It operated by heating melting sugar to a liquid state. While simultaneously a centrifugal force was generated by the spinning head. The spinning head whipped at around 3,400 revolutions per minute which pushed the melted sugar through the minute holes. Then sugar sprinkled from the holes and hardened into lengthy tiny strands which were just 50 microns in diameter.

They decided to name their candy as “fairy floss” formed from the “Electric Candy Company”. They had to spend several years perfecting the procedure before presenting their invention to the public. It was first introduced at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis Fair, in the year 1904 with great success.

How “Fairy Floss” became “Cotton Candy”

Joseph Lascaux, another dentist from New Orleans, Louisiana, also invented a similar candy making machine.  He changed the name to “Cotton Candy”. He strived to improve Morission’s original electric device in 1921 but failed.

In 1949, Gold Medal Products, manufacturers from Cincinnati, Ohio, introduced a spring loaded base for the machine which eased the candy making process. It is still the world’s main producer of candy machines.

Idiot'story Cotton Candy
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In 1978, the first automated machine was used for the production of cotton candy. Over time candy machines did go through several upgrades greatly speeding up the candy production process.  Machines nowadays can hold up to 1.4 kg of sugar and have compartments for extra flavour. They can spin up to 3,450 revolutions per minute.

Idiot'story Cotton Candy
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It is unquestionably an irony that a candy machine was invented by a dentist. Tooth decay occurs by the acid made by the bacteria that grow in sugar. However, the two main ingredients in cotton candy, coloured sugar and air, results in lesser calories than a can of soda pop. Next time when you devour candy floss, you will think about the attention-grabbing facts of such an enjoyable refreshment.

“Sugar” does play a major role in tooth decay or does it occurs by acid producing bacteria that survive on carbohydrates that cling to our tooth? Well, whatever it is, nobody can stop us from enjoying this sugar loaded delight. Let us know in the comments below what you think.