Salt water taffy

Salt water taffy

"'Salt water taffy is a soft taffy originally produced and marketed in the Atlantic City, New Jersey, area beginning in the late 19th century.


The origins of the name are unknown. The most popular story, although probably apocryphal, concerns a candy-store owner, Mr. David Bradley, whose candy shop was flooded during a major storm in 1883. His entire stock of taffy was soaked with salty Atlantic Ocean water. When a young girl asked if he had any taffy for sale, he is said to have offered some "salt water taffy." The girl was delighted, she bought the candy and proudly walked down to the beach to show her friends. Mr. Bradley's mother was in the back and heard the exchange. She loved the name and so Salt Water Taffy was born. [ [ Salt water taffy history] , accessed June 30, 2006]

According to Joseph F. Fralinger,

"By 1883, a Mr. David Bradley was advertising 'Taffy' at his stand on the Boardwalk near the David Lindy Baths at St. James Place. He sold six pieces of taffy for 5 cents with each piece folded in a square bit of paper with the four ends twisted together." To Joseph Fralinger's recollection, he was standing at Bradley's booth one day and a little girl asked for 'Salt Water Taffy'. Another asked for 'Ocean Wave Taffy'. Still another asked for 'Sea Foam Taffy'. This caused Fralinger to ask, "How many names have you for that candy?". They answered, "We let them call it any old thing!".

Whatever the origins, Joseph Fralinger popularized the candy by boxing it and selling it as an Atlantic City souvenir. His company is still one of the largest retailers of salt water taffy.Fact|date=September 2008

Fralinger's first major competition came from candy maker Enoch James, who refined the recipe, making it less sticky and easier to unwrap. James also cut the candy into bite-sized pieces, and is credited with mechanizing the "pulling" process.

On August 21, 1923, John Edmiston obtained a trademark for the name "salt water taffy" (number 172,016), then demanded royalties from companies using his newly acquired name. He was sued over this demand, and in 1923, the Supreme Court of the United StatesFact|date=July 2008 decided that the phrase had been in common use too long to claim royalties. [ [ "Salt Water Taffy" Makers win fight Against Patent."] "The New York Times", March 30, 1925, p. 19, col. 7.]

Salt water taffy is still sold widely on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, and other touristed beachfront areas throughout the United States and Atlantic Canada.


Taffy was first cooked in copper kettles over open coal fires, cooled on marble slabs, and pulled on a large hook on the wall. The 'Taffy Pull' was a household enjoyment on Saturday nights as well as an Atlantic City enterprise. Pulling taffy is designed to add air to the corn syrup and sugar confection. By draping 10 to 25 pounds of cooled taffy over the hook and then pulling away from the hook, the taffy stretches. When the taffy reaches a 5 or 6 foot length where it might become too heavy for itself and fall off of the hook, the puller loops the taffy back over the hook, folding it onto itself and trapping air between the two lengths of glistening candy. An accomplished puller will work quickly and listen for the familiar `swish, then smack or slap' of the two lengths as they join as one. This process of aeration helps to keep the taffy soft and prevents stickiness. The pulled taffy was shaped by hand-rolling it on marble or wooden tables into a 1/4 inch diameter snake. It was then cut to the proper 2 inch length with scissors. And, finally, wrapped in a pre-cut piece of wax paper with a twist at both ends. All of this was done by hand and usually within the sight of the Boardwalk strollers who were eager to watch. The popular purchase in the 1880's was a 5 cent bag.

Modern recipes for saltwater taffy include sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup, glycerine, water, butter, salt, flavor, and food color. [ recipe: Saltwater Taffy] . Exploratorium, San Francisco, California, USA]


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