History Of Fairy Floss: How They Spun It Back In The ‘Floss Age’

Fairy floss is a timeless treat that has been enjoyed by generations. Perhaps in some ways you wouldn’t quite expect…

Medieval ‘Floss Age’

During this era sugar was rare and expensive, and considered a treat only to be eaten by the rich. Except for knights and their damsels in distress… very few people ever got to try it.

Medieval cooks and bakers would spin sugar onto forks and use it to decorate various types of cakes. Some really creative medieval cooks made dragons, castles and mythical creatures from it, to please the rich and famous. Now that’s really getting creative with fairy floss, and would be a sight to see!

Get My Fairy Floss Hire Pricing Sheet Now

18th Century ‘Floss Age’

Fast forward a few centuries and cook books started to emerge, sharing recipes and techniques on how to make ‘spun sugar’ (as it was known back then). Candy shops would make fairy floss covered chocolate, fairy floss covered Easter eggs, and all other types of weird and wonderful concoctions.

Then in 1899, John Wharton and William Morrison were granted a patent for the first ever ‘machine that melted and spun sugar’ in Nashville, Tennessee.

19th Century ‘Floss Age’

In 1904, Wharton and Morrison took their machine to the St. Louis World Fair, the first fair that fairy floss was ever introduced to. Do you want to know how much sales they made on their first day?

They sold nearly 69,000 boxes at 25 cents each. It was one of the Fair’s most expensive treats, earning the two men over $17,000, nearly half a million dollars in today’s world.

Not bad for their first day in business, hey!

Then in 1921, Joseph Lascaux, a dentist in New Orleans, Louisiana received a patent for a ‘cotton candy producing device’. And with it, he invented the name “cotton candy”. Why did Lascaux create such a beast of a fairy floss machine? To introduce a sweet little treat to his dentist patients… perhaps the most ingenious way to ensure continued business growth and a long lasting legacy into the 20th century!

Cotton Candy Gets Sexy!

In 1950, fairy floss started to appear in high end resorts and restaurants. The Four Seasons Hotel in New York City added it to their menu and Manhattan restaurants started serving fairy floss in a martini glass to the customer’s colour requirement. It became a regular item on fancy restaurants dessert menus!

In the 1970s mass production fairy floss machines emerged that melted the sugar, spun it into floss and bagged it. Now, fairy floss could be purchased in nearly every supermarket, instead of having to wait for the next circus, carnival or fair.

History Of Fairy Floss Around The World

Fairy Floss as we know it, has some weird and wonderful names. Would anyone like to try some old lady’s hair in India?



USA & Canada

Cotton Candy


Fairy Floss


Barbe a papa aka ‘Papa’s Beard’

India & Greece

Old Lady’s Hair

England Candy Floss
China Dragon’s Beard
Persia Pashmak
Turkey Pishmaniye

In Australia, it is still known as fairy floss, the name given to it way back in 1904 at the St. Louis World Fair (the beginning of the ‘history of fairy floss’).

Are you craving some fairy floss right now? Snowy Joey has some modern day fairy floss hire packages for you to enjoy some fairy floss in the 21st century. Just click on the button below.

Get My Fairy Floss Hire Pricing Sheet Now

Or call Rosanne (the Owner) on 0433 617 299 to book a fairy floss hire package.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published