Cotton candy has had an interesting and varied history since its emergence at in the last year of the nineteenth century, as speculation and uncertain surround its very creation. Historians are not exactly sure who it was that first invented the delicious candy treat loved by millions of circus and amusement parks across the country. Generally, four people are associated with the origins of cotton candy, and each one for slightly different reasons, and yet all have received recognition at different times as the inventor of cotton candy.
John C. Wharton and William Morrison, two candy makers from Tennessee, received a patent for their cotton candy machine in 1899. Their machine ran by electrical power and involved a process which melted and spun sugar through tiny holes using centrifugal force. Wharton and Morrison went on to introduce their amazing new invention at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.
Next we have Thomas Patton who received a separate patent around 1900 for different process of making cotton candy than that introduced by Wharton and Morrison. Patton had been experimenting with ways of caramelizing sugar and thereafter forming threads by the use of a big fork. In order to get the threads to spin and he employed a gas-fired rotating plate. Patton’s design worked well enough that he was able market his product at no less than the Ringley Brother’s Circus. Its resultant popularity with the children was hardly unexpected.
At about the same time that Patton was wowing circuses with his brand of cotton candy, a Louisiana dentist named Josef Delarose Lascaux had managed to create his own form of cotton candy which interestingly enough he offer at his dental practice. Unlike the others around at the time of cotton candy’s inception, Lascaux never received a single patent or trademark for the confection.
Here’s the more interesting question. How is cotton candy made?
Cotton candy is very simple to make. First sugar is melted into a liquid state by a built in heater and then it is spun in the cotton candy machine. The motion of the machine forces the liquefied sugar through thousands of tiny holes that shape and cool it. The moment these thin threads of sugar hit the air, they cool and re-solidify, so in the bowl of the machine a web of sugar threads develops that are collected and served on a stick or in a cone.