Commercial Candy Floss Machines
Candy Floss (also known as Fairy Floss in Australia and Cotton Candy in the USA) is a form of spun sugar. Made by heating and liquefying sugar and spinning it out through minute holes, where it re-solidifies in minutely thin strands of "sugar glass", the final Candy Floss contains mostly air, with a typical serving weighing around 1 ounce or 30 grams. Often served at fairs, circuses, carnivals, and Japanese festivals, Candy Floss is sold on a stick or in a plastic bag. Food colouring can be used to change the natural white colour, and numerous flavourings are available to change the taste.
CANDY FLOSS HISTORY
Several places claim the origin of Candy Floss, with some sources tracing it to a form of spun sugar found in Europe in the 19th century. At that time, spun sugar was an expensive, labour-intensive endeavour and was not generally available to the average person. Others suggest versions of spun sugar originated in Italy as early as the 15th century. Machine-spun Candy Floss was invented in 1897 by the dentist William Morrison and confectioner John C. Wharton, and first introduced to a wide audience at the 1904 World's Fair as "Fairy Floss" with great success. Joseph Lascaux, a dentist from New Orleans, Louisiana, invented a similar Candy Floss machine in 1921. In fact, the Lascaux patent named the sweet confection “Cotton Candy” and the "Fairy Floss" name faded away, although it retains this name in Australia. In the 1970s, an automatic Candy Floss machine was created which made the product and packaged it. This made it easier to produce and available to sell at carnivals, fairs, and stores in the 1970s and on. The United States celebrates National Cotton Candy Day on December 7.
CANDY FLOSS PRODUCTION
Typical machines used to make Candy Floss include a spinning head enclosing a small "sugar reserve" bowl into which a charge of granulated, coloured sugar (or separate sugar and food colouring) is poured. Heaters near the rim of the head melt the sugar, which is squeezed out through tiny holes by centrifugal force. Coloured sugar packaged specially for the process is milled with melting characteristics and a crystal size optimized for the head and heated holes; granulated sugar used in baking contains fine crystals which spin out unmelted, while rock sugar crystals are too large to properly contact the heater, slowing the production of Candy Floss.
The molten sugar solidifies in the air and is caught in a larger bowl which totally surrounds the spinning head. Left to operate for a period, the cotton-like product builds up on the inside walls of the larger bowl, at which point machine operators twirl a stick or cone around the rim of the large catching bowl, gathering the sugar strands into portions which are served on stick or cone, or in plastic bags. As the sugar reserve bowl empties, the operator recharges it with more feedstock. The product is sensitive to humidity, and in humid summer locales, the process can be messy and sticky.
Modern innovations in cotton-candy equipment include vending machines which automatically produce single servings of the product, developed in Taiwan, and lighted or glowing sticks.
CANDY FLOSS FLAVOURING
The source material for candy mesh is usually both coloured and flavoured. When spun, Candy Floss is first white because it is made from sugar, but adding dye or colouring can transform the colour. Originally, Candy Floss was just white. In the US, so-called 'floss sugar' is available in a wide variety of flavours, but two flavour-blend colours predominate – 'blue raspberry' and 'pink vanilla', both originally formulated by the Gold Medal brand (which uses the names 'Boo Blue' and 'Silly Nilly'). Candy Floss also comes out purple, when mixed, making a significant favourite at fairs. Candy Floss machines were notoriously unreliable until Gold Medal's invention of a sprung base in 1949, and since then, they have manufactured nearly all commercial Candy Floss machines and much of the floss sugar in the US.
Typically, once spun, Candy Floss is only marketed by colour and is sold worldwide because it is a popular snack. Absent a clear name other than 'blue', the distinctive taste of the blue raspberry flavour mix has gone on to become a compound flavour that some other foods (gum, ice cream, rock candy, fluoride toothpaste) occasionally borrow ("cotton-candy flavoured ice cream") to invoke the nostalgia of Candy Floss that people typically only get to experience on vacation or holidays. Pink bubble gum went through a similar transition from specific branded product to a generic flavour that transcended the original confection, and 'bubble gum flavour' often shows up in the same product categories as Candy Floss flavour'.
CANDY FLOSS MACHINES
In 1978, the first automated machine was used for the production of Candy Floss. Since then, the creations and innovations of this machine have become greater and greater. They range in sizes from counter-top accessible to party and carnival size. Modern machines that are made for commercial use can hold up to 3 pounds (1.4 kg) of sugar and have compartments for storage of extra flavours. The rotating bowl at the top spins at 3,450 revolutions per minute. Sometimes people don't use rotating bowl, they use rotating head for Candy Floss machine.Show more