One of my favorite memories is going to the County and State Fair!
The biggest attraction for me of course was the carousel ride. I spent all my money on it. Well I did leave some for cotton candy and candied apples. It was the only time to get cotton candy. I can almost see the pennant blowing in the wind. Let's take a ride for only a nickel. Maybe we can catch the brass ring!
Cotton Candy History
It is unclear who was the first person to invent cotton candy. Four people, Thomas Patton, Josef Delarose Lascaux, John C. Wharton, and William Morrison, have all been named as the inventors of the candy.
Wharton and Morrison received a patent for the cotton candy machine in 1899. They created the first electric cotton candy machine to melt and spin sugar through tiny holes using centrifugal force. After the two candy makers from Tennessee received the patent, Wharton and Morrison took the invention to the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.
Patton received a separate patent in 1900 for his process of making cotton candy. He was experimenting with caramelizing sugar and forming threads using a fork. Patton used a gas-fired rotating plate to spin the cotton candy threads. He introduced the candy at Ringley Bros. Circus and it became popular with children.
Around the same time, a Louisiana dentist, Lascaux, introduced cotton candy at his dental practice though he never received a patent or trademark for the confection.
The early machines proved to be unreliable at times. Some simply broke and others would make loud rattling sounds. In 1949, Gold Medal Products introduced a more reliable model with a spring base. This helped to revolutionize cotton candy making.
Today, cotton candy is a great treat to enjoy at a circus, amusement park or fair. Even though its beginning can be debated, it has become a favorite summertime candy.
Back in the 1100's, Arabian and Turkish horsemen played a game on horseback. They took it very seriously... so
seriously that Italian and Spanish crusaders who watched, described the contest as a "little war" or garosello and carosella respectively.
The crusaders brought the game back to Europe where it became, in time, an extravagant display of horsemanship and finery that the French called carrousel.
About 300 years ago, some frenchman got the idea to build a device to train young noblemen in the art of ring-spearing. His device consisted of carved horses and chariots suspended by chains from arms radiating from a centerpole. This was probably the beginning of the carousel as we have come to know it.
By the late 1700's, there were numerous carousels built solely for amusement scattered throughout Europe. They were small and light.. . their size and weight limited by what could readily be move by man, mule, or horsepower. These limitations were removed with the invention of the steam engine. When the power of steam was applied to carousels, the elaborate machines we think of became possible.
The modern-day story of the carousel (or merry-go-round) in America traces back to the mid-19th century when Gustav Dentzel, a German immigrant, opened the G.A. Dentzel Steam and Horsepower Carousel Company. During this time, carousels were in their heyday and were considered the premier amusement ride, with more than 7,000 in existence. Today the number of wooden carousels has dwindled to approximately 250 as a result of The Depression, fires, floods and neglect.
Fortunately, the future of the carousel looks bright; they are riding the comeback trail with museums, national organizations, collectors, art, amusement parks, cities and downtown areas restoring and showcasing the magnificent masterpieces.
None of the old carousels of Europe could match the product of this group of American craftsmen. Ingenious men all, they set their own precedents. Their carousels were bigger and more elaborately housed. Their animals and chariots were more beautifully carved and in a richer variety of styles. There were war horses, parade horses, Indian ponies, and horses straight out of a child's dream. There were animals of the jungle, the plains, the farm and the forest. There were even dogs, cats, teddy bears, and mythical beasts. Any creature remotely rideable could be found on our carousels.
3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup white corn syrup
1/2 cup water
8 cinnamon red hot candies
1 teaspoon red food coloring
Insert a wooden craft stick into the bottom of each apple. Grease a cookie sheet and set aside.
Combine sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Heat, without stirring, to 270-290 degrees or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard but pliable threads. Remove from heat and stir in candies and food coloring until just mixed.
Holding each apple by its stick, quickly twirl in syrup, tilting pan to cover apple. Lift out of syrup, turning to allow drips to adhere to apple. Place apples on prepared baking sheet to cool completely. Makes 8 apples.