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A Dentist Invented “Cotton Candy”

Cotton candy

Interesting Facts in Easy English

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • elite: wealthy or famous members of society
  • confectioner: a person who makes candy and other sweets
  • debut: first public appearance
  • patent: to license an invention so that others can’t copy its exact name or design

A Dentist Invented “Cotton Candy”

Sugar was once an expensive treat enjoyed only by the elite. In the 1400s, confectioners in Italy began with sugar. They heated it in a pot and spun it on a . Then they dried out the sugar strings to decorate cakes, pastries, and fruit for wealthy lords and ladies. Spinning sugar was a very time-consuming process. In 1897, American candy makers William Morrison and John C. Wharton invented the first machine for spinning sugar. Their machine heated sugar in a spinning bowl that had special holes in it. These American candy makers called their treat “fairy floss”. Fairy floss made its big debut at the St. Louis World Fair in 1904, where it sold for 25 cents a box. This was a very treat, but the candy makers still sold over 60,000 boxes. In the 1970s, a Louisiana dentist named Joseph Lascaux invented and patented a more advanced device for spinning sugar. He tested the sticky treat out on his patients, and changed the name to “cotton candy”.

Comprehension Questions

  1. Describe the time-consuming process of spinning candy by hand.
  2. What name did the Nashville candy makers use to describe their machine-made treat?
  3. What is ironic about the person who invented the word “cotton candy”?

Discussion Question: Cotton candy has different names in different countries. It is also known as candy floss, fairy floss, papa’s beard, sugar thread, and old woman’s hair. What other names can you come up with to describe this fluffy treat? Which name is the best?

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