The Dentist Who Invented Cotton Candy

Talk about sending mixed messages!

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James Morrison, dentist by day and amateur inventor by night, came up with the idea for spun sugar at the turn of the twentieth century. James wasn’t just a plain old dentist, though. He was the president of the Tennessee Dental Association for years! It’s hard to imagine a dentist with an overactive sweet tooth, but that’s exactly what James was.

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James teamed up with fellow inventor and friend, John C. Wharton, to create the Electronic Candy Machine. The machine melted and spun sugar around through numerous air pockets until it was light and fluffy. They ended up calling it “Fairy Floss,” which may or may not be a wink to James’ profession.

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James and John introduced their confection at the 1904 World’s Fair. They sold it for $0.25 a box, which is equivalent to around $6 today. It was a smashing success. “Fairy Floss” sold over 60,000 boxes in the span of six months. That’s nearly half a million dollars in today’s money! Even after all of the wealth and accolades, James went back to being a dentist. Probably to help fight against all of the cavities his new candy created.

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See more of James Morrison’s story in the video below!