A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 24, 2009
Cotton Candy (Candy Floss; Fairy Floss)

Entry in progress—B.P.

Wikipedia: Cotton candy
Cotton candy (American English), candy floss (British English), or fairy floss (Australian English) is a form of spun sugar. Since it consists of mostly air, servings are large. Many people consider eating cotton candy part of the quintessential experience of a visit to a fairground or circus. The most popular color of cotton candy is pink, though any color can be made. Eating cotton candy is often considered only one part of its allure; the second part is the act of watching it being produced in a machine.

History
Cotton Candy originated in the central Iranian city of Yazd. It is known as Pashmak by Iranians, and has been made for centuries.

It was introduced to the Western world in 1904 by William Morrison and John C. Wharton, at the St. Louis World’s Fair as “Candy Floss” with great success, selling 68,655 boxes at the then-high $0.25, half the cost of admission to the fair.

Tootsie Roll of Canada Ltd. has a bagged product called “Fluffy Stuff” that claims it was first introduced at the 1893 World’s Fair.

The United States celebrates National Cotton Candy Day on December 7.

Production
The first machine was made over 100 years ago. The machine used to make cotton candy consists of a small bowl, into which sugar is poured and food coloring is added. Heaters near the rim melt the sugar, which is spun out through tiny holes. The molten sugar solidifies in the air and is caught in a large metal bowl. The operator of the machine twirls a stick, a cone, or their hands around the rim of the large catching bowl, gathering the candy into portions. Modern cotton candy machines work in very much the same way as older ones.

Texture
Sticky and sweet, it dissolves quickly in the mouth (due to its amorphous nature) although it feels like wool to the touch. It does not have much of an aroma although the machine itself has a cooked sugar smell when in operation. Soft and fluffy when dry, when it comes in contact with moisture, it becomes sticky and damp. Because the sugar is hygroscopic, and has a very large surface area, it will become coarser, harder and generally less “flossy” once exposed to the atmosphere.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
cotton candy U.S. (see quot. 1961)
1926 Springfield (Mass.) Union 4 Mar., How much profit is made on *cotton candy sold at fairs.
1961 Observer 29 Mar. 29/3 Something called ‘cotton candy’ (anglice ‘candy floss’) is sold at seashore resorts; it is made by expanding under pressure a tiny amount of sugar into a huge tasteless blob.
1970 New Yorker 23 May 106/3 There were stands where you could get..cotton candy, hot dogs.

candy-floss [FLOSS2], a sweet confection, usually pink, of fluffy spun sugar; also in transf. and attrib. use as a type of meretriciousness
1951 Springfield Sunday Republican 6 May 29A (Advt.), Salt water taffy..pop corn—*candy floss.
1952 Times 2 Oct. 6/2 They could not solve problems of foreign policy on a diet of rhetorical candy floss.
1957 J. FRAME Owls do Cry II. xxii. 100 You won’t get any ice creams or..candy-floss.
1957 R. HOGGART Uses of Literacy vii. 171 (heading) Invitations to a candy-floss world: the newer mass art.

The Food Timelins
Candy Machine
To all whom it may concern; Be it known that we, William J. Morrison and John C. Wharton, citizens of the United States, residing at Nashville, in the County of Davidson and State of Tennessee, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Candy-Machines, of which the following is a specification. Our invention relates to improvements in candy-making, or, as commonly called, “candy-machines,” in which a revolvable or rotating pan or vessel containing cand or melted sugar causes the said candy or melted sugar to form into masses of thread-like or silk-like filaments by the centrifugal force due to the rotation of the vessel. The object of our invention is to obtain an edible product consisting of the said filaments of melted and “spun” sugar or candy.”
-- U.S. Patent #618,428 January 31, 1899. Application filed December 23, 1897.

Google Books
21 June 1904, Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, pg. 2228
42,843. CANDY. ELECTRIC CANDY MACHINE CO., Nashville, Tenn. Filed May 25, 1904.
FAIRY FLOSS
The words “Fairy Floss.” Used since October 10, 1903.

21 January 1905, Scientific American, pg. 47:
Inquiry No. 6401. For manufacture of the electric candy machine known as “Fairy Floss” or “Cotton Candy.”

Chronicling America
1 February 1905, San Francisco (CA) Call, pg. 7 ad:
Fairy Floss Candy
The latest candy novelty. Come in and see it made.

1 February 1905, Syracuse (NY) Post Standard, pg. 6, col. 7 ad:
FAIRY FLOSS
THE WORLD’S FAIR CANDY
Dalton’s Drug Store

8 February 1905, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, pg. 5 ad:
“DIXIE SNOWFLAKE” FREE
Come and see the novel “Cotton” Candy being made
(...)
One of the features of the occasion is the making of cotton candy—it looks like cotton, it feels like cotton, and yet is a most delicious candy—made from pure sugar.
(Lit Brothers store—ed.)

11 February 1905, New York (NY) Times, pg. 4 ad:
A Wonderful Candy Machine
Perhaps you have seen the mysterious vaudeville man eat handfuls of cotton on the stage. You can do the same thing with the candy floss that this new Candy Spinning Machine turns out.
(John Wanamaker store—ed.)

28 March 1905, Marysville (OH) Tribune, pg. 3, col. 2:
The “Cotton Candy” man who produces a cotton-like substance out of granulated sugar by simply subjecting it to a great centrifugal force, which is furnished by an electric motor, has been interesting the local public this week in various store windows. These contrivances were very popular at the St. Louis exposition and at prominent resorts during the last year.

28 June 1905, Duluth (MN) News-Tribune, pg. 10, col. 4 classified ad:
ONE candy floss machine cheap if taken at once, 119 West Superior street.

Chronicling America
12 August 1905, Frankfort (KY) Roundabout, pg. 5, col. 1:
...photoscope, candy floss, name plate machines.

Chronicling America
10 September 1905, New-York (NY) Tribune, Sunday magazine, pg. 13, col. 3 ad:
The Empire Candy Floss Machine turns a pound of sugar into thirty bags of delicious and wholesome candy in eight minutes.

Google Books
December 1905, Popular Mechanics, pg. 1271 ads, cols. 1-2:
Spins Sugar into Cotton Candy, any Color
BARTELL MACHINE CO.
59 W. 8th St., NEW YORK CITY
(Col. 2—ed.)
Let me ship you one of my Electric Floss Machines and you can immediately commence turning SUGAR into DOLLARS—here is the proof.

One pound of Sugar costing 5 cents will make 16 bags of Candy Floss; at 5 cents per bag you make 75 cents profit on every 5 cent investment—at this rate you can make your dolars earn you $12 each.
(...)
SHAFFER CANDY MACHINE CO.
Suite 19, 245 Broadway, New York.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, March 24, 2009 • Permalink